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Two V’s of Marketing Testing


2 V’s and 3M’s of Marketing Can Guide Your Entire Marketing Strategy

Every marketing and sales test requires two V’s:

1. Volume

2. Variation

Like many things in life, business and even sport – if you want to keep score and track your progress or success, there are some rules to the game.

In marketing, those rules surround testing. And to keep testing simple, I often advise clients to focus on the 3M’s of Marketing – your message, the medium you send it out via, and the market you target.

But to get any sort of accurate data – to know if your marketing is working or not, or where to tweak it… you need some volume and some sort of variable in your marketing or you’ll learn very little.

Let’s start with…

Volume – small distribution will never give you any real data. You’ll get some results. But without putting your marketing in front of enough eye balls, you don’t get any “statistical significance”. When response rates of 1% can make you a fortune, you can be tricked into believing you have a success when you only send 100 direct mail letters to a small niche.

In direct mail for many years, and even still holding true today, is the industry known fact that you need to send around 5,000 letters to get “statistical significance”.

Send less than this, and one of two things can happen…

1. You get a poor response where you could have got a better response had you mailed the proper test amount. So instead of knowing your “statistical significance”, you pack up shop on that campaign – a campaign that could have proved itself a winner, and you could have rolled out across big volume numbers and made profit on – simultaneously adding hundreds if not thousands of new clients or customers to your list for back end sales.

2. You get a great response from a “too small” test campaign. This falsely tricks you into rolling out to big volume. You invest sizeable money into a large campaign which fails. The error was not in the rolling out. The error is in the wrong sample size to test with.

In sales the same thing happens. The Hot Shot salesperson walks into the meeting with a new script or new closing technique that he claims will change everything for the company. They teach across their salesforce of 100 and work it for the next month across 5,000 prospects. But what if the Hot Shot salesperson told you he only tried it on 2 people. The company’s investment in rolling out a new script across thousands of prospects when untested can be costly. More testing was needed first.

Volume is the game in most marketing. It doesn’t mean all volume needs to be enormous. But it must be of “statistical significance” when testing or else you will falsely roll out a campaign or fail to roll out a campaign because you test volume tricked you into false results. It’s the Law of Averages at work. But without enough volume in your sample size you simply won’t know.

Variation – in sales and in marketing there are countless things you can vary. Understanding your “High Impact Areas” are key to making marketing innovations that produce significant, reliable results.

Rule # 1 – never change more than one thing at a time or you won’t know what worked.

If you change your message AND send it to a new target market – how will you know what worked or failed? If you change a headline AND an image in your ad – how will you know?

Rule # 2 – only change “High Impact” areas. Don’t waste time changing a few bullet points here and there when you can test a headline, an image, a new offer, or a new layout with all the same content. Small copy changes won’t yield the dramatic results you’re looking for to point you in a new direction. Whilst the cost of testing it online can be lower than in print mediums, there is always a cost involved in marketing. If it’s not the cost of ad space, impressions etc – it can be the lost opportunity from fooling around with “Low Impact” areas.

You may be wanting me to hand you a set or rules more specific but I’m sure you understand every industry is different. In fact, inside even the same industry’s, there are often different target markets.

You need to write down your 3M’s and 2V’s with a short (one page or less) list of High Impact Variables that you test. Decide on a minimum amount of “Statistical Significance” Volume you will test across and track the shit out of it. Your results will guide you.

“The numbers don’t lie – and the numbers always tell a story”

You don’t need all the answers up front. You just need to dig and track and measure.

Let’s create a conversation around this – share this article and let me know your thoughts. There might be some METRICS you discover that help us all.


By Scott Groves

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