Chapter 17: The Awareness Stage of the Growth Funnel

In Chapter 16, we discussed the growth funnel which we call the A3R3 funnel or the AAARRR funnel in detail.

We also saw a visual overview of the funnel with the growth marketing experiments you can run for each stage as well as some of the metrics you should measure at each stage of the funnel.

In this chapter, we will deep dive into the Awareness Stage of the growth funnel.

The Awareness Stage of the Growth Funnel

The Awareness Stage focus on growth activities and experiments that make the potential audience aware in the following situations:

  • that a solution exists for a need they have which they may or may not know about
  • that a solution is available with our startup
  • educating them as quickly as possible that they have this need and then informing them we can fulfill it

In case they know a specific need they have but they’re not “aware” if there’s a solution yet, then we must design growth hacking experiments to reach them fast.

Awareness: Scenario 1

Customer is or might be aware of their requirement.

Here’s a step-by-step example experiment in the Awareness Phase of the A3R3 funnel:

  • Step 1: Go through other close needs the customer may have
  • Step 2: Make a list of products or tools that solve the closest need
  • Step 3: Use the audience of these products or tools and market to their audience

Awareness: Scenario 2

Customer is not aware of their own need or requirement (sounds funny but this is often the case)

In this case, we can’t hack awareness of the product or solution directly, but we must first bring out the need and use Awareness hacks in parallel for maximum impact.)

Here’s a step-by-step example experiment in the Awareness Phase of the A3R3 funnel:

  • Step 1: Find a podcast or webinar or social media live chat or AMA platform which your target audience subscribes to
  • Step 2: Share general and specific tips during the event but also use it as a platform to ask questions and help people discover or understand or accept the need
  • Step 3: Capture their information and use content and retargeting via email or ads to reach them again with your solution for their requirement or need

What you can do – Awareness Hacks

  1. Run validation ad campaigns to their target audience (read more about Validation Marketing, another term coined by Rishabh, which is closely related to the awareness stage of the A3R3 funnel)
  2. Join their community and have conversations
  3. Find a few of their users and then leverage word-of-mouth
  4. Run retargeting campaigns
  5. Run email marketing drips and newsletters
  6. Create awareness landing pages with simple opt-ins

What you should measure – Awareness Metrics

  1. Responses to your initiated conversations
  2. Traffic to your awareness landing page through these experiments
  3. Impressions on your content and messaging
  4. Amount of time in terms of minutes of attention to your awareness stage content
  5. Visits to your website from your Awareness Hacks
  6. Podcast Impressions and Listen times
  7. AMA views where you talk about the need or product

This should give you a good starting point to initiate your Awareness Experiments. What you can do from here is design multiple awareness experiments based on the above ideas and then plug them into the growth marketing experiments process to start executing and measuring results.


AWARENESS MARKETING should not be confused with finding a Product-Market Fit. Having a product-market fit and the audience having awareness are two different things and should not be confused.

Here, we’re talking about startups who have a product-market fit based on their initial feedback or MVP iterations.

The problem we’re trying to solve here is for them to be able to make their own target audience aware of the product by either first making them aware of the need or by addressing their existing need.

On the other hand, startups or ideas without a product market-kit should go back to the drawing board and focus on finding the fit first and not think about growth hacking or growth marketing.

A product-market fit is the key pre-requisite for growth marketing – and should be worked on before diving into any of the core growth marketing funnel experiments.

That’s all for this chapter.

In the next chapter, we will deep dive into the ACQUISITION stage of the growth funnel.