Marketing Tests: Strategic or Tactical?


How Do You Properly Run a Marketing Test?

We were chatting with a prospective client the other day when she made the following comment.

I like this proposal. Let's run a test for the next six months to see how it performs.

"That sounds great," I found myself saying "But, we want to align on whether this is a Strategic Marketing test or a Tactical Marketing test."

In our opinion, the difference between the two is:

  • Tactical Marketing tests: These tests pit one marketing line item against another in a survival of the fittest. Two may enter -- only one will leave!
  • Strategic Marketing tests: These tests focus on a testing a larger strategic direction -- investing stronger in brand marketing to widen your prospective customer funnel, for example -- than a battle royale test of two tactics. 

The client asked us how we approach determining the type of test. We mentioned using the following three guidelines:

  • Success Criteria: How will success be decided? Is there a single metric success is judged upon, or are there a series of metrics involved?
  • Test Length: What is the appropriate test length in order to declare a winner? Understanding statistical significance of the data produced will help answer this question.
  • Action on Findings: Does the client plan to make widespread changes based on test results? That's likely a strategic test. If findings determine a small portion of marketing efforts, that could likely be a smaller tactical test.

When is the last time you ran a strategic test? A tactical test? Tell us about your findings!

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