Gut Is for Gamblers

It sure seems as if the days of developing creative and hoping that it breaks through, resonates with the target, and drives sales are over.  There is not a lot of appetite for statements like, “I think this is gonna work.”  Unless you can say, “I know this will work,” and back it up with some data, you run the risk of having your marketing programs killed and your budget diverted elsewhere within the company.

Marketing is being held to a higher standard, and rightfully so.  We are at the point where nearly every target interaction can be measured in some manner.  And if you’re like our clients, you need all the data you can get to prove that your programs are working, and justify future budgets… and maybe even your job!

But what about front-end analytics?  Sure, we always do our homework at the start of any assignment and try to learn everything we possibly can about the target and what they might respond to.  But is that enough?  What happened to the days of pretesting and being prepared to answer the question “Will this really work?”  I know… there’s never enough time or money to do it properly, and the creatives really hate it.

With every marketing dollar being scrutinized, improving your results by just a few percentage points can make a huge difference.  Sure, you can test lots of digital work on the fly, but what about print, direct, and broadcast?  Those media aren’t dead just yet!

It doesn’t have to be an elaborate, time-consuming process.  Here’s what I see as the seven keys to a successful pretest:

  1. Set specific goals and have a detailed analytics plan in place prior to implementation.
  2. Make sure all the core team members have bought in and are on the same page.
  3. Keep it simple – don’t test too many variables at one time.
  4. Understand the outside influences that can disrupt your test, and be prepared to mitigate them.
  5. Test a large enough sample to make good decisions and make sure the test group represents your target.
  6. Execute the plan – don’t let people redirect it in midstream.
  7. Commit to making changes based on what the results tell you.

So don’t be afraid of pretesting.  Embrace it.  Your future may depend on it!

– Stephen Weinstein, Director of Account Management



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Filed under Ad Agencies, advertising

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