Real Time Guessing Is No Substitute for Data

With many predictions pointing to an emphasis on ROI, 2013 stands to be the year that marketing analysis gets a facelift. CMOs are looking for more results and analytics to prove the value of their efforts—and the world is moving quickly, so there’s pressure to keep up.

In our recent discussion of A/B testing, optimization was the focal point for letting the statistics drive to rank the B options—to accelerate results, time to market, and more relevant messaging. If you’re randomly testing Bs because you don’t know any better, what’s the cost of doing all that? Are you getting to value quickly? The answer is ‘no.’

The pace of consumerism creates a temptation to manage data in real time; to toss up a campaign, see if people click on it, and then base your assumptions on that. Consumers aren’t going to change their perception in a few seconds, so using a click (or a non-click) to drive scoring of your campaign is flawed at best, and sabotages your ultimate goal of ROI. Again, you’re just setting up to guess your Bs.

This is a reason that click-through rates are taking second chair to a focus on branding when it comes to impression-based marketing. When you only have seconds to make your impression, sometimes you just need more impressions to hit your mark.

And when it comes to the rigors of ROI, creative is only one consideration. Since most marketers don’t have the flexible environments to guess, test, rinse, and repeat, new methods and approaches are sorely needed. That’s why we create optimization engines that act like shortcuts, defining the B for you. After all, if you’re really going to test, don’t you want to consider all of the elements of the offer? The answer to that is a resounding ‘yes.’ To keep up with consumers—and your competition—it’s time to take a more holistic view of your offer. Lead your testing with knowledge and analytics, not a real-time shot in the dark.

Once you’re there, you can quickly move on to optimizing your other channels. While predictions are that ROI is going to be huge in 2013, the spotlight is also on mobile and social, two very fast-paced platforms with little room for guesswork.

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

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