Maintaining a learning agenda through testing
Our goal is to meet clients where they are along the testing continuum, developing a customized testing scenario for every marketer.
Media planning is often described as part art and part science — and while most clients are intrigued with the art part, there’s nothing more compelling than the bottom-line accountability of science.
Everyone yearns for results – that’s what matters. As such, sophisticated methods of media mix optimization and attribution management have become fundamental aspects of the media planning and evaluation process.
“Wanting to test” doesn’t always mean “have the time to test”
Everyone agrees there’s a comfort that comes with understanding each medium’s contribution to sales and other success metrics. But getting to true channel attribution requires a certain amount of time. Sometimes clients don’t have time. There can even be a certain element of risk.
Clients don’t particularly like risk.
Withhold Tests – easy on paper, but a hard risk/reward sell
At CE, we have several ways of determining a media channel’s role in bottom-line results. One of the most fundamental methods for comprehending the value of individual media can be achieved by executing a series of “withhold tests.” A single medium is withheld within the marketplace for a short period of time and key success metrics are measured before and after the test period.
It’s a pretty straight-forward proposition. But it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Take a medium like newspaper. One might think it would be easy to withhold newspaper from the marketing mix for a period of time. After all, no one reads newspapers today, do they? Despite the fact that newspaper readership is down, dramatically, among every age cohort, the prospect of eliminating newspaper from some marketer’s media mix, even for a short time, within a limited number of markets, can be unpopular.
Of course, if a CMO or Advertising Director can determine that newspapers have little or no affect on bottom line sales, they’re heroes and can grow their business by investing in alternative channels that offer better results. But if sales suffer in markets in which newspaper is withheld, it’s not so good. Those sales are lost and co-workers in those markets are none too happy with the experiment.
How can I start up testing while mitigating the risk?
At CE, we encourage testing for all clients and take a measured approach, with a goal of continuous learning. All along the way, we aim to mitigate risk, cost, and minimize the time required to ascertain insights into the testing we conduct.
In working with CE’s Analytics Group, our approaches range from experimental design (in-market testing and post-campaign evaluation) to media forecasting (incorporating multivariate econometric modeling and/or regression analyses). The in-market tests are beneficial for establishing benchmarks and understanding cross-channel attribution, as well as understanding the influence of retail and branding communications. The in-market approach also affords minimal market interruption and a moderate timeframe for gaining insights.
We also engage in continuous testing of online media tactics, ranging from multivariate testing of online display creative units to ongoing copy testing for paid search campaigns.
The bottom line
We’re committed to maintaining a Learning Agenda and we’re able to facilitate a range of testing alternatives that comprehend not only the time required to gain insights, but the cost/value relationship of the results.