The Hero’s Journey: The Best Marketing Formula (Stage by Stage Description)

Dariia Kotman

Apr 1, 2021

The Hero’s Journey is the construct we use to describe your customer’s journey from a problem unaware stage (ordinary world) to a better future stage (the hero’s journey you write for him through your content). It consists of 12 stages. Originally it’s derived from Joseph Campbell's Monomyth from his book “The Hero With A Thousand Faces”.

heros-journey-marketing-stages.png

So, if you seek a way to build a profitable long-term relationship with your ideal customer, but lack strategy, I am here to help.

In this article, we are going to go through each stage of Hero's Journey and learn how to understand your customer better.

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STAGE 1: Ordinary World (Limited Awareness of the Problem)

The first stage is obvious. Your hero (future ideal client) is problem unaware. He doesn’t know yet that smoking is bad or overeating can lead to health problems. At this stage, it’s important to describe his “ordinary world” that will help to understand his search patterns and social media behavior. 

Try to imagine:

  • What social media does he use?

  • What groups/pages does he follow?

  • What podcasts does he listen to?

  • What does he search for?


STAGE 2: Call to Adventure (Increased Awareness of Need for Change)

At this stage, your hero will become (or has become) aware of the need for change. He realizes he has a problem. Smoking leads to cancer and overeating - to obesity. Your hero starts to consider changing the path, receiving the “call of adventure”

Think about:

  • What caused (or will cause) your hero to become problem-aware?

  • What did he do after becoming problem-aware?

  • What are his search patterns and social media behavior during this phase?


NOTE: Join Storytelling In Digital Age Masterclass to learn more

            about how you can attract and engage your ideal customers

            through the art of storytelling!



STAGE 3: Refusal to call  (Fear: resistance to change)

Once your hero is problem aware, once he has seen the call to adventure, something will stop him from taking action. He will inevitably encounter resistance, doubts, and fears. What if I can’t lose weight? What will my life be like if I quit smoking?

Answer next questions:

  • What is stopping your hero from confronting the problem?

  • What excuses does he use to continue living with a problem?

  • What advice is he asking for?

  • What are his search patterns and social media behavior during this phase?


STAGE 4: Meeting the Mentor (Overcoming Fear)

This is the stage where you appear as a mentor. Once your potential customer sees the new hero’s journey he could live, he has deep fears and insecurities. He is stuck. He doesn't want to go on the hero’s journey, but he knows he can’t go back to the ordinary world. He starts to desperately search for a way out. He starts seeking a mentor.

Answer these questions:

  • What does the mentor should be like to help him embark on the hero’s journey?

  • What does he need to see/know/do that will help him overcome his fears?

  • What are his search patterns and social media behavior during this phase?


STAGE 5: Crossing the Threshold (Committing to Change)

At this stage, the purchase happens. The meeting with a mentor is complete, your hero is inspired and motivated, ready to go on a hero’s journey. What he is looking for is the perfect tool to get him started.

Think about:

  • What kind of offer/product/service does he consider to help him on this journey?

  • What criteria will help him make up his mind?

  • What are his search patterns and social media behavior during this phase?


NOTE: Join Storytelling In The Digital Age Masterclass to learn more

            about how you can attract and engage your ideal customers

            through the art of storytelling!



STAGE 6: Tests, Allies, & Enemies (Experimenting with New Conditions)

Your hero has just started his journey by purchasing your product or service. He is committed to change. 

Here it is important to understand:

  • What are the immediate wins of the investment he has made?

  • What are the initial challenges he encounters?

  • Who will be against him as he changes?


STAGE 7: Approach to the Innermost Cave (Preparing for Major Change)

Your hero has made great progress on the way and might be very close to the finish line. Although he starts experiencing some challenges, he couldn’t imagine when he started. At this point, your hero is desperate for more. He is starting to look for more help. 

Ask yourself:

  • After initial successes on the journey, what will be the big challenges he faces?

  • What kind of mentors is he seeking at this point to get him through?

  • What are his search patterns and social media behavior?


STAGE 8: Ordeal, Death, & Rebirth (Attempting Big Change, feeling of life or death)

At this point, your hero knows he needs to go the distance. He is facing the choice of complete failure or a complete transformation. There is no going back. This is where real transformation and growth happens. 

Describe the challenges and the complete set of tools, advice, and help your ideal customer needs to get through this part. 


STAGE 9: Reward, Seizing the Sword (Consequences of Attempt, acceptance of new life)

Hero has gone through the main challenge. He is now consciously competent - He is finally on the side of mastery. The dream is turning into a reality and your ideal customer is at the edge of a “better future”. 

Looking back into an example with excess weight: your hero stopped overeating, lost weight, and got himself into a great body shape. But now he needs to adapt to transformation and learn how to maintain it and never get back to the same problem.


And you, as a mentor, need to realize:

  • What is the mentor’s role at this stage?

  • How can the mentor help the hero consolidate his gains?

  • What does the hero need to hear and do to accept their new identity with complete mastery, comes a higher set of challenges?

The Hero's Journey Stages Marketing.png

THE FINAL 3 STAGES: 

Stage 10: Road back (New Challenge & Re-dedication)

Stage 11: Resurrection (Final Attempts, last-minute danger)

Stage 12: Return with Elixir (Mastery of the Problem)


The last 3 stages are about your hero becoming a mentor himself. After accomplishing their goal with help of your product/service he starts thinking: What is my role in this world with the newfound mastery? How can I share my knowledge and skills with others, to help them create a better future?


Hero’s Journey is a powerful tool that helps you deliver your message out there and make sure that your ideal customer is listening. Understanding each stage helps you customize product offers,  choose the right channel for advertising and respond to your prospect’s needs immediately.

In Storytelling in The Digital Age Masterclass we talk more detail about the art of storytelling and answer the next questions:

  • How to tell your story online?

  • How not “feel dirty” after filming a sales video?

  • What tools work best in today’s digital marketing?

  • How one powerful story can change your entire business and maximize your profit?

  • How to get the right audience?

Sing up now and get access to James Cook Media case examples and to the Bonus Lesson about building your funnel!

Written by:

Dariia Kotman

Content Creator

Apr 1, 2021

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