Test Driven Marketing: Define Success First
I’ve recently had the pleasure of volunteering at Big Boulder. The talks were thought-provoking, the people were brilliant, and the food was incredible. All in all, a great conference. One talk in particular, a discussion on social media analytics, got me thinking about just how common it was for businesses (and marketers especially) to do things backwards.
When it comes to introducing a new element into our workflow - whether it be as time intensive as a new campaign that needs measuring or something as simple as setting up a new tweet stream to follow, we forget to ask ourselves why we are doing this.
Instead of first stating our desired outcome and then identifying what problem most needs solving, we usually start by focusing on things we think we should be doing. When we do this, we end up creating extra work that may not actually be accomplishing anything of value.
“We hear tool such and such is great. Let’s sign up for it.”
“Are we measuring X yet? We should be.”
We are frequently faced with requests like this. If you comply without stopping to ask yourself why, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of data you could be tracking. To solve this problem, I’ve created a quick checklist to run through before I start on any new project.
4 Steps to Test Driven Marketing:
- State your desired outcome
- Identify the problem that’s keeping you from reaching this outcome
- Define how you’ll know when you have solved this problem
- Determine which tools you will use
Choose another problem; repeat.
If this sounds like common sense to you, that’s because it should be. If this a complete revelation for you, then you’re probably doing it wrong (it’s okay, I did too). Here’s how I most recently used these four steps to solve a problem of mine:
1. State your desired outcome
I want to know which marketing efforts are paying off in terms of lead generation, so that I can increase investments in those areas.
2. Identify the problem that's keeping you from reaching this outcome
When it got right down to it, I realized I had only a vague idea of how clients had initially heard about us.
2. Ask yourself how you’ll know when you’ve solved the problem
In this case, it was pretty easy - I’d have solved this problem when I knew how each of our current clients and a few past ones had heard about us.
3. Determine which tools you will use
I decided to utilize our sales team's pre-existing relationships with clients as a means of getting the information. I sent our sales team a list of all the clients whose information I’d like to collect, with a blurb about what to ask them. The next step was to record this information (spreadsheet, text doc, etc.). From there, I could quickly identify what investments had paid off.
Now, instead of spending hours consuming & considering analytics and keywords and things I think I should be looking to to solve the problem, I have a much more manageable and simple set of tasks to accomplish my goal (don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be looking at other data, but for different tests).
Our developers practice Test Driven Development** and know this inherently - first write a test, then write the code that makes that test pass. In this way, they are guided by small chunks of actual problems and desired outcomes rather than overarching and distant goals. Less code and energy is wasted. It’s equally important for us, the ‘business side’ in the business, to remember this same principle.
**If this is a new term for you, check out Jessica’s post on Test Driven Development.