How to Create and Test New Marketing Strategies
Marketing leaders are bombarded with new strategy ideas from every direction.
Your CEO sends you TikTok videos on marketing, your agency presents new platforms that need more budget, the ad platform representatives push new products in beta, you get emails every day from companies trying to sell you on different strategies—it’s all so much!
How do you decide which direction to take and how to get your marketing team and bosses on board?
Get Input from Your Analysts and Agency
Start with the people who know your audience and marketing better than anyone else. Your boots-on-the-ground marketing professionals, your internal team, and your marketing agency. What strategies do they suggest to better reach your audience?
They can pull from their expert knowledge from your company and other businesses they’ve worked with. They should also have a solid understanding of marketing trends and what your competitors are doing to reach customers. Seasoned marketing professionals will always have new strategies they would like to test based on what has worked and not worked in the past.
Understand the Pros and Cons
Every strategy has positive and negative parts to it—nothing is a slam dunk in marketing. Do you understand the pros and cons of the recommended strategies? Or are you just being sold something and given the good parts?
If you are listening to ad platform representatives or companies trying to sell you software or services, they may just list the positives that they have seen from that strategy. Ask critical questions, read articles, and find outside sources that have actually tried it.
What are the drawbacks? Why isn’t everyone doing this if it is so great? Why hasn’t your marketing team recommended this before?
Gather Supporting Information
To make a final decision and get your bosses on board, you need actual data or trusted research this strategy works for other businesses like yours.
If an agency or marketing team recommended the strategy, do they have a case study from another similar client? Can you find articles or research on this strategy from trusted digital marketing sources, like Search Engine Land or Search Engine Journal? If your Google representative is recommending this, do they have data from alpha or beta trials to support performance improvements?
Gather whatever supporting information that you can find to understand how the new strategy works and what expectations you can have.
Make an Educated Decision
Once you have gathered information and understand the pros and cons of the recommended strategies, consider what makes the most sense for your campaigns and audience.
Start with your audience. Who buys your product or service? Where do they spend their time, both online and offline? Where do they go to research your product? Where might they be most receptive to your message? Does the new strategy fit your audience?
An ad platform or campaign may work great for other audiences but may not be a proper fit for yours. Trying to copy other companies in ways that don’t fit your audience doesn’t lead to desirable results.
Is this the right time of year to test a new strategy? Do you have other tests running in the same campaigns?
If it is particularly slow or a very important time of year for performance, it may not be a good time to test new things. You should never have multiple tests running at the same time in the same campaigns because it can skew results.
Does it require extra marketing budget? Do you have a test budget? Do you have campaigns that don’t perform well that you can pull from? Or are you pulling budget from successful campaigns for a strategy that may not work for you?
A tiny budget may not allow you to test the strategy in a way it can be successful; you often have to spend a few thousand dollars to know if a strategy is going to work for you. If you have the budget to test and the strategy fits your audience and seasonality, it’s time to make the decision and move forward.
Get Buy-In From Decision Makers
You’ve decided what marketing strategies to pursue for the upcoming months. Now it’s time to get your bosses excited about the possibilities so you can get the budget and resources that it will take to put your plan into action. This is where all of your previous research helps.
You will want to create a story that is easy for your bosses to understand and follow your decision process. But you also want to set the right expectations so that they are not pressuring you for results too early or to end the test before you get significant results. Present how this marketing strategy will reach your audience and influence their decision, how much budget it will require, why this is the right time to test this, what others have experienced, and what results you can expect on what timeline.
Be generous with your estimates of time and conservative with results—it is better to underpromise and over-deliver than the other way around. Be cautiously excited about the possibilities and what this test will teach you about your audience.
Analyze Metrics and Results
Once you launch your strategy, give it a chance for performance to settle. This can take at least ten conversions or 2-4 weeks. If your budget is minimal or you get few or no results at the beginning, it can take longer for the algorithms that control targeting and bidding on the ad platforms to learn and optimize. During this time, your metrics may be unsteady from day to day. Once your metrics are steady, you can gather data to support your hypothesis (or not). Analyze each aspect of your test to learn whatever you can from performance.
Once data is significant, decide whether to continue to integrate the new strategy in your evergreen campaigns or abandon it. Present learnings from the test with your bosses and other stakeholders that may need to better understand your audience and their behavior. Keep records of every test you try—targeting and creative details, performance metrics, dates, budget, and learnings—so that you can refer to it later. Each test spurs other tests based on what you learned about your audience from performance, either positive or negative. Once you have learned from one test, it’s time to test the next strategy.
Marketing strategy and testing doesn’t have to be a stressful and confusing process. If you have a skilled team of marketing experts and work with an experienced agency, you can lean on them to provide smart marketing test ideas that will bear fruit based on their wide experience in the industry. And it will probably be more reliable than marketing strategy you’d get from TikTok videos and Tweets!
Emily Lutz is from Kalispell, Montana and has been camping more times than she can count. She geeks out over musicals and the TV show Firefly (yes, she’s on some chat sites). Before joining Perfect Search, Emily was a zookeeper for ten years.