ThinkOTB Agency

How to build powerful marketing campaigns

February 18, 2022

Marketers and marketing agencies put a lot of time, effort and money into developing marketing campaigns that will perform well. But, most are guilty of not carrying out any proper testing. This is often due to not having enough time or thinking that they already know their customers!

Most of the choices that we make when producing powerful marketing campaigns should depend on thorough testing. Alongside personalisation, most elements of marketing can be tested and can be relatively cheap to perform – especially in the digital space. Doing so can produce convincing, credible results based on real customer data.

Having in worked in marketing for more years than he cares to admit, our Chairman here at ThinkOTB shared his experience on campaign testing in a book. It’s called ‘Making Waves: How to Ride the Chaos with Direct Response Integrated Marketing’.

Here we share his insights on why, how, and when marketers should test their campaigns.

The why…

  • Testing does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. Even the smallest test is better than none and can provide exponentially extraordinary profit.
  • Customers views and behaviour continually change. We all know that trends and tastes are always changing. So, it’s vital, if you are to stay ahead of the competition, that you continually check in with your existing customers and potential prospects. Test out your marketing ideas as their needs and motivations may have changed!

The how….

  • Before any tests can begin, you must identify a control. This is easy if you have an existing website, mailing, email, etc. that you wish to test. If, however, you are providing marketing for a new business you may have nothing to use for a control. Here you need to ensure that any test uses multiple test subjects so that each is the control for the other. In all other cases, a control is vital and should never be lost sight of. If a new campaign seems to work well, a control allows you to quantify the degree to which it has improved and, understand whether the upturn in performance can be attributed to the new campaign or another factor; the old campaign might have worked just as well or even better.
  • Test the major variables first. They are the easiest to identify and are likely to provide the largest returns – once you have reached a point where button colour is the only thing to test, it may be time to completely revamp a campaign.
  • Incremental or radical approach. Using an incremental approach will ensure that you can be more accurate as the changes that provide the best results can be easily identified. It might be an idea to do some radical tests while the incremental ones continue to provide returns, so that you can switch campaigns at the right time.
  • Tests need to be statistically valid to be relied on – so the number of responses is vital – remember the point of testing is to make change – and if you want to get senior management on board with the changes, you need sufficient stats to demonstrate your findings!
  • Back to the basics of marketing – start with your existing customers – they have already shown their interest in the product or service and can therefore be relied on for a larger response to the tests. Segment them and then these segments can be tested to identify which variations of a campaign perform best.

On and offline testing…

  • Offline testing – shapes, finishings, materials, paper, plastic, scents, textures, sounds, size, 3D components – the list is endless. Remember though that whilst adding these makes it more engaging, the costs can increase and risk your ROI. Print is making a real comeback right now. Make sure you have a great relationship with your print and fulfilment house to understand the latest techniques and prices.
  • Online testing – we can test the colour of a button or font quickly, easily and at minimal or no cost. Results are immediate, gone are the days of waiting for direct mailings to be printed and land with customers, then tentatively waiting to see which test pack performed better!

Consumers expect excellent digital experiences and delivering that requires robust insights and a deep understanding of the end user. Digital testing has been taken to a new level with companies such as UserZoom, who can observe users in real-time via screen share technology.

The when….

  • Digital has given testing much more flexibility and we can test continually. But remember, all tests need to be statistically valid.
  • Seasonality and geography can impact on the effectiveness of your campaigns. So, for truly powerful marketing campaigns, test these too.
  • Keep a record of what’s worked and what hasn’t.

The role of research

Testing indicates what works but can’t explain why – the why requires research. Combining testing with research gives you the ability to understand a range of information from audience demographics and general impressions. It helps you to hear the voice of the customer (their feedback) and their ‘True Intent’ (their reasons for visiting).

Understanding your customers has never been more important. If you want to maximise the success of your campaigns, you need to continually test across all your marketing channels. If you’d like to find out more about creating powerful marketing campaigns, talk to our experts.


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