Data is not a strategy: Part 2 – Best Practices

In part one of ‘Data is not a strategy’, we looked at some of the key limitations of data-driven marketing techniques and the tools available to help measure performance.  In part two, we will look at some of the best practices for how you *should* use data and testing.

Start with data

Think of data not just as an output – something you get from a test – but think of data as an input. What data-driven insights can you bring to the table before a campaign has even launched?

Traditional marketing functions like brand management, marketing research, and media planning all come into play here.

What need does your product solve? How many people have that need? Are there enough of them to hit your corporate goals? Do you have enough money to reach all of them? Data as an output will come later. A failure to properly plan your business and your media at the outset will leave you playing catch-up to competitors who took the time to think things through.

Test big

As covered above, testing is expensive. Why waste time and money on tests that aren’t going to have a material impact?

Choose key assumptions of your media plan to test. Don’t try to test the whole plan. When you test it, fund the test fully and see it through to completion.

Keep materiality in mind from the outset. If you’re 50% under target and your product isn’t resonating with customers, doubling your Google Ads click-through rate isn’t going to save you.

Run one big test at a time. The more you test at one time, the more noise you generate, the more difficult proper controls are to implement, and the more likely it is that any learnings that come out are simply random noise.  

Evaluate the full funnel, look for the biggest opportunity for improvement and test there.

Test as a process

Make testing a part of your ongoing activity. Nothing I’ve written here should be construed as saying that testing isn’t important.

Testing remains a key tool for improving the performance of your media and your business. New ideas and learnings (occasionally) change the game. Failing to test new products, formats, vendors, etc. only guarantees that your business is eventually way behind the ball.

Build regular testing into your budgets and media plans. Plan for many new tests to fail. Set the right expectations with key stakeholders.

This will keep your business up-to-date and learning. When the market shifts, you’ll be there to see it.

Use the right tools for the right job

It takes more than a hammer to build a house and it takes more than one slick vendor tool to build an effective media plan.

Use automated tools and testing platforms for *some* parts of the media mix. Run new formats as regular tests against baseline products. Use automated bidding for straightforward plan components with clear KPIs and minimal over-optimization risk. Pair opaque tools and platforms with plan components that can provide richer data.

Ask for help

Finally, get in touch with the experts. Whether media planning, campaign optimization, or marketing research, engaging the experts can generate big savings by reducing wasted spend and guesswork.

As a global digital agency, Croud can bring proven techniques for planning and testing to bear for your brand. Across hundreds of campaigns and accounts, we’ve already tested many of the products and techniques you’re considering. We maintain an up-to-date knowledge base and global benchmarks that can help keep your team informed and your testing plan focused on the highest-impact opportunities.

Need help? Contact us.

by Croud
25 January 2019



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