The 5A’s Customer Path: A framework that uses 5 stages to map a customer’s journey

5 min readApr 12, 2022

Hello everyone. Last time, we shared with you the key lessons from the “Marketing 5.0 Technology for Humanity” which is the book authored by Philip Kotler aka the father of modern marketing, along with Hermawan Kartajaya, and Iwan Setiawan. So today, we want to share an in-depth knowledge of “The Kotler’s 5A’s” which is the essential part to boost up your marketing strategy and to give a deep understanding of a framework to map a customer’s journey. Let’s dive right in!

What are Kotler’s 5A’s?

Kotler’s 5A’s of the customer path is a framework that uses 5 stages to map a customer’s journey through the sales process, to allow marketing and sales professionals to create a map of the customer’s needs and priorities during different parts of their purchasing process for a smoother and more satisfying process. These 5 stages include …


Customers are exposed to brands from experiences, ads, and recommendations. Typically, they might first notice the company through ads or social media posts and also from the referral by current or past customers. At this stage, the potential customers might not be ready to make a purchase yet but they are interested in your products or services.


At this stage, the potential customers understand the brand’s messages and company offers. The company might be on their list of potential vendors. So, customers might spend time looking at the website to read your solutions, promotion, testimonial, etc.


Prompted by their curiosity, customers research for more information, so they can compare to their other options they are considering. They might contact you via email, chat, or phone. At this stage, the customer is already interested in the specific product or service, so they make a contact to discuss the details. Potential customers might also use the third-party resources to evaluate the company and its services by reading the review or creating a poll in relevant groups to find more information and narrow down their choices.


Customers decide which brand to buy and use, and they make a purchase decision. Once they make their purchase, they become customers of the company.


This is the final stage that a customer becomes an advocate for your company. They might recommend your company to friends and family, share posts from your website or social media channels, and submit their testimonials or reviews for your product or service. Also, the customer might make additional purchases or upgrade their service.

Customer experience matters! 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.

Example scenario

Customers are not always straightforward and go through all the 5A’s from aware to advocate just like the way we buy something. So do the customers, they might skip the certain path as well. Therefore we would like to share some scenarios to give you a better understanding.

  1. Sometimes, a customer might not be attracted to a brand at first, but a recommendation from a friend drives the consumer to eventually purchase the brand. It means that the customer skips appeal and goes directly from aware to ask.

2. On the other hand, it is also possible that some customers skip ask and impulsively act solely based on the initial awareness and appeal.

3. In the popular categories, loyal advocates might not necessarily be the actual buyers such as Tesla products which are well advocated by non-buyers. In this case, customers skip the act and go directly to advocate.

4. The customers can also return to the previous path. For example, a customer who asks a question might add your brand to the awareness list or find a particular brand much more appealing.

A customer who gets any problem during the usage might research information to decide whether to keep the product or to change to another brand.

5. For big-ticket items such as real estate and cars, customers are more likely to spend time asking questions and doing more research before making a purchase.

Tips for using Kotler’s 5A’s

Here are some strategies that you can use to help boost your marketing and sales processes.

1. Track & analyze for each stage

You can analyze the success of employees and sales processes in each stage. For example, you can measure the conversion rate between potential customers in the ask and act stages, which can tell you how effectively the sales team closes deals. You can also track the amount of time a potential customer spends in each stage which might affect the likelihood of a purchase.

2. Focus on individual stages for improvement

You can use the analyzed information to improve your strategies & techniques that encourage customers to become advocates for your business.

3. Customize message for different audiences

You can customize your message for potential or current customers based on their current stage of Kotler’s 5A’s framework. Customizing your messages can make a marketing campaign more effective.

4. Work together with other departments

To improve customer experience, teams have to work closely together. For example, you have put the right messages that can impact potential customers on your website, make sure that there will be someone from other departments who can take care of potential customers until they become our loyal customers.


Written by: Sertis

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