Marketing Must Be Coupled With Testing
August 22, 2017
In any marketing program or individual marketing campaign, there will most likely be various components all working simultaneously to achieve one or more objectives. These components might include different types of advertising such as television, radio, or direct mail. Other marketing components might be a website, cold calling, discount coupons, email campaigns, event sponsorships, company shirts or hats, loyalty programs, newsletters, public speaking, social media, tradeshows, e-commerce, SEO, pay-per-click, or something entirely different that a business has never tried before.
With so many different components in use at the same time, the question becomes, “What works and what doesn't?” If a particular component is working, the question becomes, “Is it meeting the objectives that were originally established?” Effective marketing must change over time just as various elements in the overall business must change over time to stay current with the competition, product and services offered, and market demands.
A strategy to change marketing components is not to simply state, “If revenues decrease, I'll increase marketing expenses,” or “If revenues increase, I'll decrease marketing expenses.” This action would not necessarily provide any intended results.
Test for Effectiveness
Marketing is a work-in-progress...or should be a work-in-progress. A business must determine which component produces the most positive and intended results. If all marketing components, however, change at the same time, then it is difficult if not impossible to determine which specific change produced the results. Therefore, only one component or variable should be changed at a time.
Changes can then be reviewed for positive or negative influences based on what the marketing intended to achieve such as:
• Total revenue
• Specific product or service sales
• Customer support requests
• Incoming telephone calls
• Website visitors
Be Specific With Objectives
If a marketing campaign only has general objectives rather than specific objectives, then testing different components for positive or negative influences will produce only general outcomes since there would be no specific objectives to judge.
For example, if a marketing campaign has an objective to simply increase sales but not by any specific amount, then testing a component for effectiveness will yield the amount that sales either increased or decreased. Since the objective did not state how much the company wanted to increase sales with the marketing campaign, it would be difficult to determine exactly how successful the marketing campaign actually was. Sales might have increased by only an insignificant amount or by quite a large amount. Regardless of the increase, absent specifics, it is difficult to say whether or not the campaign was successful.
On the other hand, if the marketing objective was to increase sales by “X” percent, then there is no question whether the change in a particular marketing component achieved the intended objective.
When marketing objectives are specific, then it is easy to determine if a component change met the intended target related to sales, customer requests, telephone calls, etc. In other words, being specific allows a business to determine if marketing components are working as intended regardless of the category or objective. If, however, many components are changed at the same time, then individually a component cannot be judged for effectiveness. Although the entire group of components might be producing the desired result, money might be wasted on one or more components in the group that are not producing positive results.
Marketing decisions must take into consideration a multitude of external variables, cost, effectiveness, and the target market or markets that the business is trying to attract.
After thorough testing of various marketing components, a business can then decide:
• Should less money be spent on marketing campaigns?
• Should more money be spent on marketing campaigns?
• Should component allocation be different?