A/B Testing on Steroids: A New Approach to Messaging

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In A/B testing, you have to have some indication of what the B is
In A/B testing, you have to have some indication of what the B is

We've all had it happen: Email design by committee. You send out an email and a coworker suggests going with the green background, not the blue to improve open or response rates. Then your spouse sees your layout on the kitchen table and says the font you've chosen might not be right. Then someone else at the office says the logo should pop more. It's this reaction—this diversity in audience and the triggers they respond to—that compels marketers to attempt implementing A/B testing. But what we're finding is that traditional A/B testing needs an upgrade in order to deliver relevant results in a so-five-minutes-ago marketing environment.

There are two major issues our clients face with A/B testing: Tackling the art of pre-testing and the speed at which marketers are able to access results.

In A/B testing, you have to have some indication of what the B is. Why are you testing between a green and a blue background color? Why aren't red or yellow in the running? And most importantly, what is the basis for making these selections?

Aside from the time it takes to hypothesize your Bs and plot your attack, the turnaround time on results has to be quick. Taking your Bs to market, waiting for a response, and doing the analysis is the marketing equivalent of dialup internet: Slow, painful and not at all competitive in today's fast-paced marketing environment.

Enter messaging optimization. In short, with optimization we let the statistics drive to rank the B options, and get better results more quickly. It's like A/B testing on steroids and best of all you can take the findings from the dynamic testing and reflect your key learnings with changes in other channels. Suddenly, just by buttoning up your testing strategy, you've landed the opportunity to step up your overall game. This requires real integration among your platforms—as well as good teamwork among the staff driving all the customer-facing platforms—but is certainly more efficient and drives you more quickly toward optimizing your findings.

Stop guessing at what the next B test should look like and instead use the data and analytics you have already at your fingertips—and accelerate results, time to market, and more relevant messaging.

Mike Caccavale is CEO of Pluris Marketing and an expert in cross-channel offer optimization.

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