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Timeless Truth #9: If at First You Don’t Succeed…

After 30 years of doing accountable marketing I know this: I’m smart enough to know that I’m not smart enough to have all the answers—so I test.

And today, as a test, I’m going to try something different.  To convey the importance of testing, I ask you to please take the following test  (and please read the answers completely).

1. For a higher open rate, when is it better to send an email?

a. 8 a.m.
b. 8 p.m.
c. No difference

2.  Which of these words is best to include in a subject line?

a. “New”
b. “News”
c. “Newsletter”
d. ”Urgent”

3. How many times should you run a print ad in the same publication?

a. One time
b. Three times
c. Six times
d. Twelve times

4. What is the best day for retailers to post on Facebook?

a. Monday
b. Wednesday
c. Thursday
d. Saturday

5. Which of the following are consumers most likely to do on their mobile phones?

a. Click on an ad while browsing the Internet
Scan a QR code
Send a text to participate in a sweepstakes, contest, or quiz
Send a text message or code to get discounts

6. Which provides the biggest lift for a B2B post?

a. A question mark in a LinkedIn post
A question mark in a tweet
An exclamation point in a LinkedIn post
An exclamation point in a tweet

7.  A/B split testing started in the…

a. 30s

8. Who said the following? “There’s a new way to do marketing—and it’s to do it with numbers.”

a. John Caples
Eric Schmidt
David Ogilvy
Mark Zuckerberg


1. b. Emails sent between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. have the highest open (21.7%) and click-through rates (4.2%). Emails sent between 8 a.m. and noon have the lowest open (16.1%) and click-through rates (2.4%), according to Experian’s Quarterly Email Benchmark Study, published in March 2013.

2. b. Here’s the good news: “News” lifted open rates by 34.8%, “new” improved open rates by 23.2%, “newsletter” increased open rates by 0.7%, and “urgent” decreased open rates by “1.7%,” according to the Adestra Subject Line Analysis Report 2013.

3. b. The third time’s the charm.  To maximize response marketers need to run an ad (ideally, a full-page ad) in three consecutive issues of one publication. (Source: Business Marketing Institute and Harvard Business Review.)

4. a.  Interaction rates for general retail are 19% higher on Mondays, according to a study by LinchpinSEO.  Apparently, it’s “Manic Monday” for retailers on Facebook.

5. d. Don’t discount the appeal of getting discounts. According to Forrester Research Inc.’s North American Technographics Online Benchmark Survey, sending texts to get discounts ranked first, followed by scanning QR codes, entering sweepstakes/contests, and clicking on an ad.

6. c. Exclamation points on LinkedIn increased clicks by 26%, but exclamation points decreased clicks on Twitter by 15%.  Question marks received 25% fewer clicks on LinkedIn and 39% fewer clicks on Twitter.  (Source: Compedium Research Study.)

7. d. Claude Hopkins, the pioneer of A/B split testing, started his career in the ‘90s—the 1890s.  OK, this was a trick question. It’s unclear exactly what year A/B split testing commenced. But the point is: The benefit of testing is timeless.

8. b. Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, stated, “There is a new way to do marketing—and it’s to do it with numbers.”  Yet Schmidt’s insight was more than 100 years late. His comment certainly reinforces the timelessness of testing, but his mistake reminds us that “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.”

Lawrence M. Kimmel is executive director of hawkeye and a frequent keynote speaker at marketing conferences around the world. Follow him @KimmelsCorner.
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