Tuesday, February 10, 2015

So there's no better way. Are you sure?

While there is always a fair degree of consensus that the marketing offer your business makes is right on the money with your selected target market, how can you be absolutely sure that the message will achieve the desired behavioural action? Or that a slight change in language or offer won't elicit a better response?
You can't. And that is why there is always a role for testing in marketing.
The use of variable message streaming in marketing remains as important now as it has ever been. Particularly with the electronic message delivery options, which allow for relatively inexpensive content changes to be made, and rapid tracking and effectiveness measurement. The art of the 'control' and test groups has long been the domain of direct marketing practitioners, with offer/language/creative variables applied as part of the continuous improvement and learning method of CRM. But it appears to have become underutilised or perhaps undervalued as a tactic of late.
One variable only is critical.
All businesses and their marketing resources should be incorporating testing into most marketing campaigns, if for no other reason than to increase objectivity and continue to learn more precisely what resonates best with customers or prospects.
As a simple example, we found that direct mail signed off by a local store manager pulled a greater response than the same creative package signed off by the retail chain's National Marketing Manager. Now admittedly, this did involve additional costs and work in compiling and streaming 15 variables (the signatures/titles and contact details of the local store managers), but the cost was far outweighed by the lift in response and the retail chain learned a valuable lesson about 'localising' offers.
Remember, for testing to be robust, there should only ever be one variable between the control group and the test cell(s).
If you aren't incorporating testing into much of your marketing, you risk missing out on increased responses that could make the difference between making a loss or breaking even versus generating profit. There is no 'magic bullet'. There are no guarantees that the way you decide to tell your story is the best way.
Testing is and will always be a sound method of ensuring you don't lump all of your eggs into one basket, and it plays an important role in ensuring you gain valuable customer insight before committing large sums of money into a message that won't perform as well as you have planned.
Long live 'test & control'!

No comments: