SAN FRANCISCO — Testing preferred marketing messages and delivery channels will provide the highest return on your marketing investment by costing you less than untested efforts, and granting you the ability to compare responses to different messages, competing media channels, and various target audiences.

By the point in the marketing process that you are ready to run test ads, you will have created your strategic planning goals for the company, a marketing budget and a promotional calendar for the year.

There are nine test steps that are the beginning of implementing the marketing plan and reaping the rewards. In today’s conclusion, let’s look at the final five:

5. Test Each Message for Each Target

Prioritize the edited messages, and prioritize the media channels. Next, match the message(s) to the probable media and run small tests through:

  • Social media sites placement (track each one separately)
  • Email blast – selected list
  • SMS blast – selected list
  • Your blog and/or newsletter
  • Newspaper route drop
  • Ad in middle of nightly news on one local cable channel
  • Snail mail to select homes
  • Hang tags to select customers
  • Slides on in-store TV
  • Static signs in-store and out
  • Bus benches
  • Billboards
  • Bus signs
  • Van message
  • CSR “Did you know …?” suggestions
  • Other creative media channels

6. Track Results

Ensure that your tests can be tracked and measured for success. The success measurement can be numbers of responses, such as calls, emails, texts, landing page visits, clicks, click-throughs, QR codes, coupons, and more; number of inquiries; appointments set; orders (by number and dollar value); total category sales; and sales trend change.

After the short test period, compare the results and document them by success level.

7. Refine the Message(s)

The test is a chance to learn about responses but also to get feedback about tweaks that can improve the effort. The results may show that the message was good but could have been better. Don’t abandon it if all that is needed is a clarifying refinement.

8. Roll Out Full Market Campaign

Once any enhancing refinements have been made, place the campaign for the full rollout in the formats and channels that proved to be most effective.

9. Review, Refine and Document

As with all your initiatives, promotional efforts should be reviewed during and at the end of the effort and rated for success. Hard data about results should be recorded as well as relevant observations, recommended refinements, and historical and anecdotal notes for use in future planning.

For example, if a test was successful but the full-market-rollout campaign ran during a weather emergency, the results might not be valid, so it might be worthy of another run. Conversely, if you ran an exceptionally successful ad on the Weather Channel during a “storm watch” period, don’t expect the same success in the future if there is no reason for consumers to tune in as often as they would during a storm watch.

Remember: Marketing is an art that can always be enhanced with scientific analysis, tracking and refinement!

Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.