Post a new topic
    6 Replies Latest reply on Oct 10, 2007 2:18 PM by chukyjm

    How do you test a marketing strategy?

    akgold Adventurer
      I am in the process now of revising the marketing plan for my company, and I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions about the best way to test out marketing plans. There are so many options to marketing approaches, and the big question is, how do you know which one is right?

      It seems like there are a couple of big options:
      1. Go with a traditional marketing plan by following some similar steps to your competition.
      2. Go with print, radio, internet advertising.
      3. Finds ways to promote your business through PR.
      4. Get really creative.
      How can you know which one is the best avenue and how do you test a marketing plan? Any thoughts or suggestions are much appreciated.
        • Re: How do you test a marketing strategy?
          FashionGal Wayfarer

          A simple approach is finding out how your existing customers learned about your business in the first place. If you're a new business or new to developing a comprehensive marketing plan, you may want to simply test out different strategies and see how people react to it. So, if you think traditional approaches are worth investigating, put one ad in the local paper and when people start coming in, find out if they saw the ad in the paper for example or if it was because of the sandwich board sign in front of your place. Testing is the key!
          • Re: How do you test a marketing strategy?
            SCORE55 Newbie

            In a sense, you really can't know which way is the right way to go until you test it. That's why you are testing it.

            The essence of testing is to pick an audience that is large enough to give you a meaningful response and small enough to be affordable, and then hit them at least three times with your best shot.

            The most common error is to try to test 2 or 3 things at the same time. If a 50% sale on television with a $10,000 investment draws better than a 25% Off sale in a bulk mail packet with a $1,000 investment you really don't know whether the better results are due to the medium, the offer, or the amount spent.

            The second most common error is to only make one attempt to reach a customer. Typically you need to make at least 3 attempts to contact a customer just to get noticed one. Lots of people give up too soon.

            As for what to test, a lot depends on your product. If you are selling toothpaste to a mass market, you would take a much different approach than if you are selling equipment to dentists. Television would be a great idea for toothpaste, while personal sales call would be more appropriate for selling dental equipment.

            Another factor is your message. If your product is a major improvement on what is in the market.say a car that gets 80 miles to the gallon, traditional means are probably best. If your product is geared to a new niche, say a car with improved handicapped access, you might look at media more likely to reach that customer.

              • Re: How do you test a marketing strategy?
                SCORE 31 Newbie
                I agree with SCORE 55 with the addition of my comments. I've found, over the years, that marketing is very tricky and there are no set rules. What may work for one company may not work for another and what may work in one part of the country may not work in another, etc. I've always suggested trying two or three avenues on a small scale and, when you see one beginning to show progress, reduce the amount spent on the others and add it to this one. You may only find one avenue that really works or you may find several, depending on your type of business, location, clientele, etc. Beware of advertisers that claim "instant success" or "very high exposure". One year I spent $4,000.00 on marketing and received absolutely nothing in return. Be careful.
              • Re: How do you test a marketing strategy?
                WhiteBrow Wayfarer

                There may be "big options" but that doesn't mean that you have to pay "big dollars" - - I suggest testing out the different marketing approaches by making smaller dollar investments on various marketing tactics and then depending on the results you get, decide if you should spend more or less moving forward. Who knows the results may surprise you! Good luck.
                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: How do you test a marketing strategy?
                  Connected Newbie
                  Is the question 'How do I test..." or "What is the right one..?"

                  There has been said enough testing in other posts here. Let me add one remark, which might be helpful too:

                  • if your product/service is a new one, in terms of breaking exisiting habits, processes etc., you might want to consider picking lead customers, which not only help you testing your marketing strategy but even 'debug'/shape your product/service. Pick those lead customers according to their ability to be referenced to the next group of people you want to reach out for. It has been said a milion times already, but lok into the "Tipping POint" by Malcolm Gladwell. It helps thinking about what marketing strategy to pick before you decide what channel.

                  Hope this helps.
                  • Re: How do you test a marketing strategy?
                    chukyjm Newbie
                    I would use the following resource to create a complete marketing plan, because it is specifically meant for small businesses: "Guerilla Marketing: Secrets for Making Big Profits From Your Small Business", by Jay Conrad Levinson. I believe this book is widely regarded and is now considered a must read for many business students. His basic point is that you do not have to spend like the corporate giants to achieve the revenue goals that you have to reach well beyond your break even point. I hope this help you; I'm using it to develop our plan for our painting, coatings, and repair business.
                    1 of 1 people found this helpful