Get Up & Running with Marketing Experimentation8 min read
The invest heavily in rapid marketing experimentation!
What is Marketing Experimentation?
Marketing experimentation is a rapid and iterative approach to testing new marketing channels and driving growth at all stages of the marketing funnel. It is a critical component of Growth Marketing process.
Amazon is one of the most innovative companies in the world. They are also a pioneer and a shining example of the power of marketing experimentation.
We’d like to highlight two quotes from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
“Our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we run per year per month per week per day”.
He’s saying that Amazon success is a result of the number and the speed of experiments they run!
“Being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure”.
This is about the need for rapid decision making.
Now you might be thinking I’ve already heard this a million times. But the issue is that this tends to only be applied to the tech and product side of things.
Google’s former head of enterprise apps Dave Girouard recognised this.
“Many people would agree that speed and agility are how you win when it comes to product. What they fail to grasp is that speed matters to the rest of the business too — not just product.”
One issue is that there’s not much written about how to put in place this speed within marketing departments or growth departments.
So, we’re helping those departments instil rapid marketing experimentation into their ethos. Here are some of our top learnings we’ve found throughout the years.
Be Prepared to Fail in Order to Find That Big Win
When you run marketing experiments, failure is your friend. If you’re looking for that big win, however, it tends to come a little bit later in the process.
Most early experiments will fail.
You need to fight through those first five or 10 experiments to get to your big wins. You’ve got to try to make sure that you don’t lose patience and that your stakeholders don’t lose patience either.
The more marketing experiments you run the more the quality of your experiments increases.
Perseverance is key!
Your first experiments will probably be inconclusive. Yet you will still be learning some valuable information. Such as how to run experiments, if you can even run experiments, who’s getting in your way, who’s the best at running experiments.
Your first experiments will probably be inconclusive. Yet you will still be learning some valuable information.
You’ll eventually hit that certain threshold where the quality of your experiments will increase, and you’ll get more and more wins.
This is the point when you hit that amazing big win!
This makes it all worthwhile and convinces everybody that this process was the right way to go.
Marketing Experimentation is a Process
Now what’s the secret sauce to marketing experimentation?
It’s no secret at all!
It’s all process-driven. We’ve developed a step by step process that you can follow. It’s called the growth process and you can see all the steps in the following video.
Marketing Experiments Should Last Between One or Two Weeks
If they don’t, you’re not designing them correctly.
Why one-week minimum?
Well you usually need a couple of days to implement the experiment, to think about and execute it. You then need a full week to run the experiment considering things like the weekend effect.
And finally, you need 3 or 4 days to analyse the results of the experiment to see what the next steps are.
Why two weeks maximum?
Well that’s because you’ve only got 21.5 weeks slots on average per year where you can run experiments!
Design Your Marketing Experiments Clearly
You must ensure that you have one very clear and measurable hypothesis.
Also, a very clearly defined experiment design where you put the scope of the experiment: who does what? what are the tasks? how the experiment will be executed?
You need to be very clear about what you’re going to track; the qualitative and quantitative data.
Finally, you need some sort of minimum success criteria. What numbers what results will you be happy with to call it a win?
Consider all possible blockers that can happen before you run an experiment.
The usual blockers are what we call the ‘immune system’ of the organisation. The ‘immune system’ tries to keep the organisation alive and tries to keep the organisation out of trouble. But it also sometimes blocks you from marketing experimentation.
Common blockers are stakeholders, branding, legal amongst many others.
Whatever you do don’t consider these your enemy. They’re trying to keep the company alive and healthy.
A lot of these blockers are easy to unblock. Try and get them involved, show them you have clear guidelines and if they get aggressive you can always win them over with learnings and data.
Involve Stakeholders in the Process
“The success of a transformation depends on an organisation’s leaders, especially the CEO. In digital transformations, the CEO is even more critical because of the magnitude of change, the degree of disruption, and the power of inertia”
– Boston Consulting Group
If your boss and stakeholders aren’t onboard it’s going to be an uphill battle.
The difficulty with being data driven is that it’s most of the time counterintuitive for C-level executives. They first need to unlearn what they’ve learned over their whole careers.
They need to shift their mindset.
This doesn’t happen just with consultancy; it happens with changing the way their brains work and convincing them that this is the new way of working.
The fact is that C-level managers are making mistakes with digital transformation. Mindset change hasn’t occurred yet, at least not in the right way, because of a lack of training.
We often joke that if a C-level executive isn’t capable of understanding basic code, building a landing page or understanding the basics of API, then how is that person going to actually drive the company forward in this new digital age.
And crucially, why would you listen to them?
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