AIDA Really Means QPBC

Author: Gab Goldenberg

I have a problem with the ‘AIDA’ formula we as marketers use.

AIDA stands for ‘Attention, Interest, Desire, Action’ and is a rough summary of the buying process/marketing process. Unfortunately, it’s too vague of an instruction set for marketers, and vague instructions lead to screw-ups in carrying them out.

So I’m changing AIDA to QPBC. It’s less catchy, but a hell of a lot more practical as far as instructions go. It’s clearer.

QPBC stands for Question, Problem, Benefit, Call.

Question – Are you {part of target audience}? Ex.: ‘Online marketer?’ That gets their attention.

“Are you John?”
-“Why yes, I am. What’s up?”

Problem – Are you struggling with {problem X}? Ex.: “Struggling with low conversion?’

“I heard you keep getting carded by bouncers.”
-[John thought bubble: Yeah, it’s annoying. I want to go clubbing with my friends and actually get in!]

Benefit – Enjoy {benefit A}! Ex.: “Convert higher today!”

“I can get you in to any club on the guest list. Want my help?”
– “Sure, that’d be great.”

Call [to Action] – Use our {product Y} to solve {problem X} and get {benefit A}. “Get our free whitepaper, ‘The 10 Worst Checkout Conversion Killers’ and increase your sales!”

“Sign up to my guest list email newsletter. It’s free and gets you in regardless of age.”
– “Woohoo!”


Sidebar Story


  1. I like the idea of making the acronym more direct and applicable, Gab. In traditional AIDA, I see many marketers jump straight to "Interest" and combine attention-getting elements with the problem question. Is there value in separating "question" and "problem" rather than combining them?

    Comment by Scott Cowley - December 4, 2010 @ 11:39pm
  2. hey Scott, Objectively, I don't think it's necessary. Practically you should test. With regards to banners, you may not have space for the whole shebang, so you want to prioritize whatever message boosts CTR. Question marks tend to do that. You can ask if people have a certain problem, which combines question and problem, and hopefully get results. David Szetela recommends limiting animation to keep banner file sizes down, so they load faster and get more impressions in AdSense. So your point may be a neat trick to that effect. (If you can combine Q+P that's one less animation required.) Sorry I just saw this now - been busy with work on the book!

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - December 16, 2010 @ 10:27pm

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