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Why you should experiment, and not just follow the industry trends?

Why you should experiment, and not just follow the industry trends?
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What’s the best marketing strategy for you? Is it social media marketing, google ads, email blast or something else? The truth is, you won’t know until you actually try. Growth isn’t achieved by hacks and tricks, but experiments, processes, and optimization.

The success of each marketing practice is also relative to your brand. Every brand is a unique entity with its own strengths and weakness. Great marketing practice might work superbly for a brand, but at the same time, it might be a disaster for your brand.

“You need a process to find basically the combination of things that are going to work for you, not somebody else.” - Brian Belfour, Formerly VP Growth @ HubSpot.

Experimenting is the only way to figure out what works for your brand the best. Once you’re able to figure out that, you just need to create a process around it.  

The reality of growth is that there is never a silver bullet. This doesn’t mean you won’t have experiments that produce outlier results. You absolutely will. Most outliers result from combined learnings of a bunch of previous experiments. They come from knowing your channel, product, and customer better than anyone else on the market and taking informed risks based on those learnings.

Experimenting is an important task to ensure that we keep getting better at the things we do. This is exactly why we’ve always been subjected to tests, experiments, and exams as toddlers and students and then as employees. So, does experimenting actually help us analyze our growth, improve performance, and find key areas to improve? If the answer is no, we should probably sue every education system in the world.

Think about it this way. When we make big purchases like buying a luxury car or the dream house, we analyze and test every minute detail from getting the right color to reflect our personality to the specifications of the engine. So why would you invest a huge amount of time and money into a marketing campaign without testing it practically?

Similar is the case with marketing. It involves promoting and selling products. Marketers identify combinations of age-old methods and new-age technologies and come up with plans to achieve desired results. There are times when it works brilliantly, but then at times, not so well.

But how many times do we actually have to introspect and look back? The Marketing Head of one of the brands, whose products each millennial owns today, said that the planning and execution of one marketing strategy begin only before the previous one ends. And what might seem like a great idea to you, (catchy offers or kickass headlines), your customers might have a different opinion. You will never know until you experiment with a lot of such ideas.

Such is the story of the fast-paced world we live in; millions of brands launching and shutting down each day and all of this leaves us with no choice but to join the rat race.

“Good companies will meet needs; great companies will create markets”, said Kotler. This holds true for every marketer out there. Marketing has come back to the times when the ad for Liril came out and created a buzz for years. Or the annual sales message we used to get from Levis and had us waiting in queues to get our favorite jeans at a 50% discount.

Today, we skip ads on every channel possible and receive millions of messages that we never care to open. So how can we expect the customers to respond? Experiment and replicate good results for campaigns and strategies that work well. Find loopholes and faults in strategies that didn’t do so well and derive key learnings out of them.

How do we improve our marketing strategies? We experiment! We run tests on different channels like SMS, email, Facebook, Instagram, etc, try different kinds of content, offers, days of the week, time of the day, and see the magic happen.

Testing is recording results and calculating the impact of campaigns on sales directly. Most customers don’t tell you they’re buying your stuff because of your email campaign. Yay for always living in limbo and wondering whether or not your efforts are actually worth anything! This is where testing plays a crucial part; it quantifies your efforts and enables you to produce better results.

How do we test and what all do we need? In this blog, I will walk you through the 4 step process - 4 weeks with little tweaks.

So, let's get started.

Step 1: Create your first campaign.

Some things are difficult to make exciting, but this can’t be the case with your marketing campaign. Design a campaign on different channels and send the same content across all platforms.

The message could be about an offer or a reminder to come back to the store and purchase online.

Wait for 7 days and record the results. You should try this with a smaller batch, say 20% of your customer base chosen randomly.

Step 2: Optimize Your Campaign with customer classification.

The entire company believes you have an exciting job; make their belief come to life. Let’s say the conversion percentage was 0.7% from your previous campaign.

Now design the next one where you classify customers on the basis of their average expenditure and make 4 segments along with the day the purchase was made.

Shoot the campaign to go on for 7 days on all channels, such as SMS, email, facebook, and Instagram and track the results for the next 7 days for this campaign.

Step 3: Optimize again on the basis of product/services you offer.

Some of your ideas may hit the bullseye when you least expect it. Analyze results from the previous campaign and voila, the conversion percentage is 1.1%.

Now, these numbers are hypothetical, but it’s clear that even a small tweak can lead to better results if communicated properly.

Plan the next campaign based on different products people purchased and send them messages about their favorite product(s), only via SMS and Instagram. Track this for 7 days.

Step 4: Analyse & Compare.

This is when most marketing managers either lose interest or are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for the results.

After compilation, the conversion from the two channels is 1.4% and this is when you didn't take any external help or added any resources. This is everything you have done and earned it.

Now, you must understand that an enormous amount of money is spent every day & year in marketing. Also, you can't ignore the time and money you've to invest to get everything done strategically and effectively.

So, experimenting on a small scale gives you clarity on its performance and effectiveness and saves you budget to execute something that can provide more inner insights and can yield better returns for your business.

Wrapping Up

You can always anticipate the performance and predict numbers based on past campaign performances which can help you do better next time and stay ahead of the competitors.

But the only way to establish this with conviction is by actually testing and experimenting with your campaigns.

So, always consider your marketing room as your laboratory where each experiment comes with greater learning and you keep trying and coming up with new ways to deliver messages to your prospects. Hold on to the one that performs and then keep tweaking it to see if it yields better results.

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