We need to ask “Why?” before we ask “What?” Marketers must have a sound strategy for testing why their strategy is or isn’t working. Instead of “What headline should I be testing?” we should be asking, “Why is our current headline underperforming?”
In an article for MarketingExperiments Blog, Lauren Pitchford outlines four steps to developing an effective and strategic test to optimize your marketing approach for maximum ROI.
Step 1: State your goal
Begin by laying out a clear goal - what is the objective of your test?
Write your goal down where your team can easily access it and stay focused on this vision. Frequently return to your goal throughout the process.
An example of a goal could be: Increase the average order value of customer transactions.
Step 2: Identify the “Why?”
With your goal written down, it’s time to start thinking about how to achieve it. But before you can come up with a solution, you must first identify the problem.
An example to the above goal could be: Why are my customers only spending $100 per transaction?
Now you can form a hypothesis by thinking of possible answers to that question - the “Because.”
Customers are only spending $100 per transaction because:
- We emphasize products at the $100 price point
- Only products at the $100 price point are relevant to our customers
- Customers are unaware of the added benefits of more expensive products
Choose one problem to fix at a time. Weigh the benefits of solving a specific problem against the costs of testing and implementing the solution.
Step 3: Identify the “How?”
Now that you have identified a problem, it’s time to start thinking about how to solve it with a strategic solution.
Solutions to “We emphasize products at the $100 price point” could be:
- Direct eye-path to more expensive products with use of shape and color
- Increase the amount of emphasis on more expensive products by changing the layout
Solutions can usually be implemented in more than one way. You always want to choose a solution strategy that helps you understand the most about your product or service.
By using the first solution, centered around shape and color, you might learn whether blue or red is more effective for getting clicks. But changing the layout could tell you whether giving more real estate to a product or service is increasing purchase, which is a deeper understanding.
Step 4: Identify the “What?”
Once you decide on the problem you want to solve and the strategy of your solution, it’s time to focus on what you will do to make your solution come to life.
An idea to the solution “changing the layout” could be:
Use a three-column layout with one wider column dedicated to a more expensive product.
A solution is a strategy, while an idea is a tactical implementation.
It’s easy to head straight for the idea - or the what - and have to move backwards to the solution and problem. But if you follow these steps, your ideas will develop from solutions rooted in strategy.
Let us know how you test your marketing strategy in the comments below.