There is a website called “BurningQuestion.com” where a few people in the marketing world believe that asking the right question will spark a marketing revolution. In my first post I listed some of the better questions on the site, and then used my favorite question as my blog springboard:
“Why do we so religiously follow shiny metal objects every time they glitter in the sun and seem to abandon all sense of thinking?” — Tilly Pick
My burning question might be a rephrase of Tilly’s: Why do we make marketing decisions based upon intuition, not facts?
I believe that marketing is a measurable science. I have learned that the hard way — by failing to succeed — more than once.
Last year I attended a 2-day DMA seminar on the topic of “How to Take the Guesswork Out of Marketing,” by Steve Cuno. (The content of the seminar has been captured in his book Prove it before you promote it.) In the seminar, Steve gave example after example of “hard lessons learned” and followed with teachings on how anyone can apply science to marketing in order to enhance creativity, and trade intuition for sound judgment.
A couple of summary points from Steve’s book:
• Decide in advance the outcome that will confirm or disprove your hypothesis.
• Small tests keep failures small. Statistically valid small successes can indicate big wins ahead.
• Isolate variables when testing.
• Always have a control group (that does not receive the test).
• Once you find a winner, keep running small tests against it. You never know when a new winner will emerge to replace the old one.
One great way to accelerate the testing process is by pre-testing creative ideas with conjoint testing. This process lets you test multiple combinations all at one time in an online environment using specialized software. The result is that you can determine the most effective combination of elements (offers, features, benefits, or other creative approaches) before you go in-market, saving time and budget.
So now we have an answer to our Burning Question. We don’t have to depend on intuition alone when we employ marketing analytics — there are so many techniques that can provide the foundation for successful marketing campaigns based upon facts, not intuition.
In my next post, I’ll share a case study which will loop back to the creator of the Burning Question, who is attempting to create the apps to help you harness it all!
Stay tuned for part 3.