I talk to marketers all the time who tell me that they are hard at work trying to improve the quality of their marketing efforts. They’re working on strategy and pricing, lead generation and follows up. They want to improve the ROI of their campaigns and grow the business.
Then when I ask them if they’re testing, they tell me “not right now”.
It’s infuriating. As a marketer, you are never done testing. There are so many things to test.
Here are some of the most common reasons they give me for not running any tests:
1. “Not enough time/Too busy with other things.”
You do have enough time to test. I know that because you have enough time to do other things. Your goal is to improve the ROI on your marketing campaigns and the single best way to do that is by running constant tests. Tests help you find the winning combination of placements and offers along your conversion funnel. It should not be a side project or something on the back burner, it should be a core part of your process and planning.
2. “Don’t know what to test.”
This is a lazy excuse. There are an infinite amount of things that a marketer can test. Every word, every image, every ad, every email can and should ultimately be tested. I think the problem is you don’t give yourself time to step back and think creatively about what you are doing. Book an hour or two with your team and brainstorm/list every possible test you can run. Then prioritize them by how hard they are to set up and what impact you might have.
3. “Don’t have the data to measure the results.”
This is one of the more legitimate excuses I’ve heard. But it should not stop one from testing. If you don’t have the data, make a plan to get it. Work with IT or finance or sales to figure out what you need to measure, and how you can work with the information you have in order to determine what is possible. Find technologies and platforms that are built for testing and will get the information and present it to you. If you have something worth testing, data should never hold you back.
4. “Testing has not worked in the past.”
Some people tell me that they have stopped running tests because they have not worked. Either there has been no clear winner, the control version has always won, or the results could not be trusted because of some external influencing factors. But I always say, just because a test didn’t yield the result you wanted, doesn’t mean it didn’t work. Every test you run with no clear winner, or where the new version fails to improve performance, tells you something about your business. A losing test is just as important as a winning test for determining how to proceed and how to get better.
Conclusion: there’s no excuse for not testing. It’s too important.