Mainstream Awareness

eCommerce Marketing Hierarchy of Needs: Part Five

This is the fifth and final installment of eBridge’s ‘eCommerce Marketing Hierarchy of Needs’ blog series. Now at the peak of the pyramid, we’ll be discussing marketing tactics to gain mainstream brand awareness.  This includes the type of alluring tactics which draw junior marketers into the profession. When well-executed, a quality tier five campaign can win awards and accolades. But realistically, most brands never reach the point where they’re a legit household name. So while these tactics are fun to think about, you may find more practical advise for your business located in tiers one, two, three, and four which discuss all the prerequisites.

For each tier in the eCommerce Hierarchy of Needs, we look at marketing from the perspective of five important facets:

  • Customer Experience: How customers interact with your brand and complete purchases.
  • Reputation: How customers learn your brand is legitimate.
  • MarTech: How technology aids your marketing efforts.
  • Search Marketing: How to utilize search to find customers.
  • Paid Advertising: How to best spend your ad budget.

Tier 5: Mainstream Awareness

Mobile app, celebrity endorsements, advanced analytics, advanced P.P.C., Mainstream Media Campaigns

Customer Experience: Mobile App

When smart phones first came out, it seemed every business was putting out a mobile application. With so much competition for people’s attention on their phones, most company’s apps were under-utilized. But for mainstream brands like ride sharing companies, news outlets, digital media, banks and professional sports, mobile apps are crucial components to their customer experience.

Reputation: Celebrity Endorsements

The previous tier’s reputation section talked about social media influencers as a way to improve a brand’s reputation at a smaller scale. But if mainstream awareness is the goal, the next iteration is to have a celebrity endorse your product. Many readers will know that eBridge does a lot of work with web hosting companies. In the hosting industry, the most infamous example of celebrity endorsement is when Hulk Hogan was the face of Hostamania. The brand is now defunct, and while I can’t find any public information about its demise, I will speculate that Hostamania may have jumped to tier five of the hierarchy before satisfying the prerequisites on the lower tiers.

Business casual Hulk hogan is crayoning and eating candy. He sees 200MM orders come in all at once, so he turns to see anti-gravity man taking a bite out of his favorite red crayon (even though he has at least 10 other red crayons on the table) so he changes into thong-wearing Hulk Hogan as he rides in on a wrecking ball and kicks anti-gravity man in the face, who then hits his head on the ground for a serious concussion.

Scantily clad Hulk Hogan featured in a slightly-NSFW commercial in which he parodies Miley Cyrus from her music video ‘Wrecking Ball’ to promote web hosting. Source: Hostamania, YouTube

MarTech: Advanced Analytics

For most companies’ needs, Google Analytics has more than enough data about their web traffic. But if your company’s need for customer and website data has outgrown Google Analytics’ capabilities, there are other tools available with greater functionality. You can gain better tracking across multiple devices and draw data from many sources to produce more actionable insights. These insights can then be tied into marketing automation campaigns thru lead scoring triggers. Advanced analytics tools tend to be priced at a premium, but are well worth it for companies with large volumes of website traffic.

Search Marketing: Advanced P.P.C.

Smaller brands who find themselves competing against big brands in terms of pay-per-click campaigns find it’s very challenging if not impossible to rank for general keywords. If you are Hulk Hogan, and you want your flagship Hostamania ad to show up in Google search results if someone searches “web hosting”, you better be prepared to pay a ridiculously high cost-per-click, brother. I’m not sure Hulkster could’ve afforded it back in the days before he’d teamed up with Peter Thiel to be honest. Anyway, bidding aggressively on general keywords typically only makes sense for the largest brands seeking mainstream brand awareness, or for new brands backed by VCs. They are essentially aiming to buy market share, because the math is very unlikely to yield a positive R.O.I. on a per-click basis.

Paid Advertising: Mainstream Media Campaigns

For brands seeking the spotlight, there is no shortage of opportunities to spend big. Mainstream media campaigns could take the form of TV ads, radio ads, billboards, and more than ever podcast advertising. It’s not uncommon for a popular podcast to require $10k+ to sponsor a single episode. How about sponsoring a sports stadium? Scotiabank  paid $800m in 2017 to take over the naming rights of the Air Canada Center, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors, an amount for which they could’ve purchased a pro sports franchise outright. Indeed, gaining mainstream brand awareness is a high stakes game.


Thanks for reading. Putting the ‘eCommerce Marketing Hierarchy of Needs‘ together was more challenging than we originally anticipated. It ended up being a useful internal exercise for us though, as we were forced to weight the merits of a variety of marketing tactics in consideration of how they interact with each other and a company’s growth stage. That’s a lot of variables to encapsulate in a single infographic, and while there were surely a million ways we could’ve sliced and diced it, I hope the general framework we’ve put forth will provide some good food for thought for eCommerce companies trying to determine where to allocate their marketing budget.

Interested in eBridge’s opinion about which marketing tactics your business specifically should be prioritizing? Need help with any of the tactics we’ve discussed in the series? Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions, comments, or constructive criticism.

Devin Rose eBridge Headshot
About the Author:

Devin Rose is eBridge’s Senior Marketing Strategist, a role in which he wears many hats. Devin doesn’t actually own many hats though, as he isn’t particularly interested in fashion. When he’s not helping B2B technology companies acquire new customers, Devin enjoys following the Vancouver Canucks and cooking elaborate meals.

Posted December 3, 2018
Categories: Hierarchy of Needs, Advertising and Marketing General, Media Buying, Search Engine Strategies (SEO & PPC), Business Growth, Marketing Analytics
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