Yes, You Must Test A Market Strategy

    September 20, 2005

A marketing strategy is a series of actions intended to accomplish a specific sales goal. For example, an advertising strategy for a new product or service.

The words marketing campaign is commonly substituted in order to catch readers attention. Normally, left-brain dominants (logical) prefer the word campaign and right-brainers (creative) prefer strategy.

Before we address the nine basic steps in testing a product or service, let!/s briefly discuss the common faux pas generally made that keeps the process from succeeding. For marketing beginners, there are two typical mistakes. The biggest is trying to take on too many strategies at once. The other mistake is creating a strategy that is either too big and can’t be measured or too small and can’t deliver enough results. Both are frustrating.

Other bloopers include impatience, boredom, obscure measurements or limited focus, or any combination thereof. Another blooper, if you are a solopreneur, is trying to juggle more than one strategy at a time. When the results don’t equal our expectations, mind or on paper, it is easy to say this doesn’t work and want to jump to another strategy.

First Stage: Choice. This is the time to plan and prepare. It contains three vital steps.

Step 1: Brainstorm Strategies. It is important to create a list of as many possible strategies known by you or your team at this time. don’t scrutinize, just list. For the perfectionists, please know that there are hundreds of strategies for any one scenario and a complete list is nearly impossible. If you don’t know of any possible strategies, do some research, and stop at three. Three that feels comfortable and achievable for you.

Once the list is done, stop looking for or learning any new material that doesn’t fit. Set those aside for now, temporarily. The time spent chasing more possibilities will water down the success of the current strategy. You never want to chase the next best thing when you still haven’t worked what you already have going.

Step 2: Choose and Prioritize. Measure the top five strategies according to needed resources and the learning curve. Choose the one that requires the least resources and run with that one. It may or may not be your first preference.

Step 3: Measurement. This tells you whether the strategy is working. You can do this by measuring the number of responses or the type of responses you receive. The measurement can include a set percentage of the gross revenue expectations. Time is also a measurement. Or, the measurement can be any combination thereof. For example, if you wish to get 5,000 responses a month when you get to the maintenance period, the first measurement may be 10%, or 500 responses with 50 paid orders.

Second Stage: The Loop is a process that continues until you reach the measurement.

Step 4: It!/s Time to Try It. Run the test. If you are a speaker, deliver the presentation once to a small group. For an Internet sales letter, post it, and measure the results in 8, 16, and 24 hours after first notification. If it!/s a widget, stand on a busy corner, hand them out, and talk to people about their reaction. If it!/s a children!/s book, complete one or two story times at the local libraries.

Step 5: Review Time. It!/s time to evaluate. Is it working? How does it compare to the measurement? It!/s time to gather all the yellow sticky notes and other comments received earlier and evaluate each one for its merits and possibilities. Which ones do you want to incorporate into the next test?

Step 6: Tweak, Pinch, Pluck and Twist. It!/s time to tighten and sparkle. If speaking, rewrite. If a sales letter, add, delete, or expand the content. If a widget, redesign or edit the sales copy.

Step 7: Put It Out There Again. Time to test it again with the changes. Before sending it out there double check to see if the measurements still fit or need adjusting. When you hit the measurement, the loop stage is complete. If not, return to Step 4 and loop again. Continue until it meets or exceeds the measurement.

Stage Three: Working the Strategy. Now it!/s time for consistency.

Step 8: Work the Process. This is the maintenance period. don’t drop the ball here — consistency and pattern are the keys along with sporadic measurements. Watch the marketplace for changes that could affect your results. Know the marketing history of similar products. Available resources should begin to open.

Step 9: Next! If the current strategy has opened resources, it is time to choose the next strategy. If not, keep working this strategy and allow the other strategies to wait until the resources become free. don’t fall into the trap of tweaking it just because you get bored with the process.

(c) Copyright 2005, Catherine Franz. All rights reserved.

Catherine is a veteran entrepreneur and communications
master coach. Additional articles, newsletters, workshops,
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