Testing, Testing, Testing!

I have always stated that just as in Real Estate—Location, Location, Location—marketing is all about Testing, Testing, and more Testing. 

It is amazing to me that very few companies ever test any aspect of their marketing by comparing it consistently to something else.  And fewer have a “control” to test against.  They bet their destiny on conjecture and subjective decisions.  I often times hear, “I fell in love with my Ad.”  You should never fall in love with any marketing piece.  Either it produces business or it doesn’t.

This is sad for a number of reasons.

First because we don’t have the right or the power to predetermine what the marketplace wants and what is the best price, package or approach to use.

The answer is that we have the obligation and the power to put every important marketing question to a vote by the only individuals whose ballot counts the most—your customers and prospects.

But how do you put a marketing question to a vote?  You do it by testing one sales thrust against another, one price against another, one headline against another, one ad concept against another, and so on and so on.  I could go on and on—but you get the idea. 

The point is that when you test one approach against another and carefully analyze and tabulate the results, you will be amazed that one approach always out-pulls all the others by a tremendous margin. What is even more amazing is that you will see how many more sales, or how much larger the average orders are from the same effort. 

The objective and purpose of testing is to demand maximum performance from every marketing effort.

You can achieve immediate increases in sales and profits merely by testing.

For example:  Have your sales people try different pitches, different hot-button focuses, different pricing offers, different bumps or upgrades, different follow-up offers, etc. etc.

Then each day you should review the specific performance of each tested approach.  Then you must analyze the data.

If you find that a specific new twist on your basic sales approach out-closes the old approach by a large margin, doesn’t it make sense for everyone in your sales group to start using this new approach?

Now you don’t want to stop here.  Once you identify the most successful combination, your work really has just begun.  Now you should find out how you can outperform that “control.”

Keep experimenting to come up with even better approaches, offers, or sales pitches which have consistently proven, through testing, to be the best performer.

Until you create and establish your control concepts, techniques and approaches, you can’t possibly maximize your marketing. 

And once you find control concepts or approaches, keep testing to see if you can improve on their performance, thereby replacing one control with a better one.


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12 Responses to “Testing, Testing, Testing!”

  1. Brian Walter says:

    OK, just don’t ever tell accounting that your advertising piece is a test!
    Good luck getting any money out of them after that. I have trouble enough as it is even with successful advertising.

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Brian Walter,
    Hi Brian, I understand. It’s tough when you are dealing with bean counters that don’t understand that marketing is the engine that drives a business. You don’t have to call it a “test”. Just remember that whatever advertising piece the company is currently using is really a control piece. It’s the piece that you’ll measure future ad pieces against. By that fact, it becomes a “test” piece. The company should be interested in maximizing its results. The only way to maximize results is to measure the results of whatever is being done against what has been done. By comparing results, you get to find out what works best. Whatever works best becomes your new control.

    [Reply]

  2. lidia says:

    i do not advertise…All my clients come to me word of mouth or deal with Introducers bringing people in.
    I save on advertising.
    doing tests all day long won’t leave you with so much in your kitty..
    Instead reward the once that actually do something which would be a better way of advertising.No test required for some.

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @lidia,
    Hi Lidia,
    That’s great if you can build your business only with word of mouth. That is by far the best way to build a business. Remember though, that testing applies to anything we do. It applies to how we introduce ourselves to others, our elevator pitch, our website, and just about anything we do. Testing allows us to improve on, and maximize, what we do.

    [Reply]

  3. Mike, Operations Director, Retail Sector (UK) says:

    Sometimes your customers aren’t sure what they want. How do you know?… By listening to their answers to your questions… providing you’re asking the right questions, that is!
    Listen to what they have to say: test their knowledge! And remember… and anagram of listen is… SILENT!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Mike, Operations Director, Retail Sector (UK),
    Mike, you are right. Customers can’t always tell you what they want. If you can get them to tell you what they don’t want, you can infer what they do want. Also, by being SILENT (as you said) and observing, you can often surmise what they want and then confirm through questions. Good point.

    [Reply]

  4. Another great piece of information to strengthen your sales package is consumer data. Proof that the consumer actually wants your product is in my opinion the most compelling sales pitch. Otherwise how do you know that you talk about relevant product facts with your retail customers and how do they know that you are not just a good speaker who can turn everything into a bunch of roses?
    Any tips and tricks on consumer testing and in market product qualification, please give me a call.

    [Reply]

    Ken Varga Reply:

    @Sabine Lohmann,
    Sabine, as I’m sure you know, there are many ways to do consumer testing. Every business has some unique qualities, so business owners have to approach testing from their unique position. By unique position I mean: the company’s overall goals, financial condition of the company and the target market, the company’s position in the market, the market segment they serve, etc., etc. A business owner has to take all this into account when they are about to do consumer testing. There are no one-size-fits-all answers to testing. And as you say, consumer data information can be helpful in this process, especially if you are just starting out in a market where you don’t know your customer well.

    [Reply]

  5. Viki says:

    Appreciation for this infrmoatoin is over 9000-thank you!

    [Reply]

  6. Your internet site is awesome and this is a good inspiring article. Thanks !

    [Reply]

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