Marketing is mainly budget driven. The channels are fixed but more and more there is space for some experiments.
In general marketeers are creative and less analytical (although some companies are extending the team with analysts). The second challenge is that the is no culture of testing. Decisions are made by the Hippo (highest paid person’s opinion). This is not the most motivating way to come up with new ideas within the marketing team.
For more then 4 years we are experimenting within ContentForces to give the ‘traditional’ online marketing teams an instrument to experiment and build a culture of testing.
The Javelin experiment board is the inspiration to setup a Marketing Board. But marketing is not the same as a startup. In a way a startup without a ready product that tries to sell. Marketing for established companies who have one or more known products. In this case there is plenty of data available and learnings which often are not documented.
The Marketing Experiment Board is an online marketing tool to turn your idea’s, available data and previous learnings into Marketing Experiments. It is based on more then 15 years corporation with online marketeers and use of existing and in-house developed tools.
At first you start with forming the hypothesis. Every experiment is based on a hypothesis. A hypothesis is shape your idea’s, data and learnings in a way that it can be easily tested. In general marketers have idea’s. The idea that will be turned into a big campaign is chosen by the Hippo (highest paid person’s opinion). It is not experimenting but choose a big solution and see if it is working.
By creating a hypothesis you can focus and learn faster.
How does it work?
The Marketing Experiment Board contains of a brainstorming part on the left and the experiment lanes on the right side.
Below I try to explain in 3 steps, how to use the Marketing Experiment Board.
Step 1: Understand the experiment lanes
In the experiment lanes you define the experiments. Every experiment is a hypothesis.
You break down the hypothesis in 3 types:
- Customer segment
- Problem of the customer
- The hypothesis with a solution
For every hypothesis we need:
- period of testing
- success criteria
The Customer segment
Marketeers are very good in segmenting the customers. The challenge is to find niche segments that are big enough to generate serious traffic and conversions.
High school students who follow the trends of their friends.
The Problem of the customer
Marketeers are probably less familiar with with problem of the customer. A potential customer has a problem and needs a solution. It doesn’t have to be problem of live or death but it can also be created by friends, advertisement, trends etc. The problem can be latent (the client is not aware of his problem), passive or an active problem. To find active problems are always the best as these problems need to be solved as soon as possible.
My friend has an iPhone and I also would like to have one
The hypothesis with a solution
Based on the customer segment and the problem you will solve with your solution (so product or service), the hypothesis will defined.
(I believe) that offering hand iPhones will trigger high school students to buy a new iPhone with a yearly contract.
After you defined the hypothesis with a solution you need look for the channel(s) where you can reach your customer segment. The channels can be defined for quick results (for example AdWords) or long term results (for example a blog).
Now customer segment, problem, the hypothesis with a solution and the channels are defined, the creative work can start. You need to create one of more campaigns. Campaigns include all creative work including for example banners, landing pages, content etc.
For every experiment the test period needs to be defined. In stead of period you can also take other limits, like for example number of visits or a certain budget.
Now the success criteria needs to be defined. Success criteria are the minimal score is the minimal validation to make the experiment successful. Based on the channels, customer journey, phase of your marketing etc, you can decide which metrics to choose. For example Click True Rate (CTR), Bounce Rate, Conversion Rate (CR), Amplification Rate. More practical information about metrics you can find in my previous article: Noob Guide Vs Ladder Of Awesomeness/Sustainable Success.
Step 2: Start brainstorming! and fill the experiment lane
The left part of the board contains the brainstorming. The brainstorm part consists of:
- The idea box
- The data box
- The learnings box
The idea box
The idea box is the real brainstorm box. The box should be filled with post-it notes with all potential customers (so customer segments) and all possible problems you can imagine. For inspiration you use the visuals from the data- and the learnings box (see below).
The data box
The data box visualizes the relevant data. You can see it as the Google Analytics- part of the Marketing Experiment Board.
The learnings box
The learnings box visualizes the learnings from previous experiments or documented learnings from the past. You can see it as the infograph part of the Marketing Experiment Board.
Based on the information in the data- and learnings box, and off course own idea’s you can start brainstorming
- listing out different Customer Segments
- brainstorm the problems your products solves
Now choose prioritize Customer segment, for the segment where you expect to get best results. Take the solution that is typical for this segment. Probably you have a solution within your company so list this solution in the solution box.
The hypothesis can be described on the input.
Then choose the channel(s) and a period for testing and based on the customer segment > problem > solution you create a campaign.
The experiment can start..
To execute the tasks to setup a campaign you can use your regular project management software.
Step 3: Run the experiment
In the box with results, the results of the defined metrics in Success Criteria will be up-to-date. The final result after the period of testing will stay available in this box.
In the Decision & Learnings part, the final decision to proceed, stop or create an adapted experiment will be described inclusive all other learnings.
The Marketing Experiment Board it is in the beta phase. ContentForces is looking for Beta-testers. A Beta-tester needs to be very experienced with online marketing in various organizations. He or she need to have the ability to test the board in practice (can be on background) in organizations with a separated marketing department with at least one create marketeer.
The first version of the Marketing Experiment Board is created in Google Docs. The execution from the experiments can be done with “own” project management based tools or with Kanban like tools.