Too often I find clients obsessed with the idea of trialling their campaigns - the belief that they can launch a campaign idea or activation with minimum monetary investment, assess its success rate and then decide whether or not to dive in head first. For instance, I know of one brand that decided to launch a new line of handbags exclusively online. Well, because they went in with the mindset of “trialling” the line before full execution, they only produced 1 design, didn’t push any media money and didn’t even bother investing in analytics to see if people visited their site during the given time period. The result? The idea was killed because of little take-up. It was only when, two years later, they decided to again push the idea, but this time launch it with a few of the points I am about to detail below, that they could truly understand if the idea was worthwhile. They are now one of the top selling handbag brands in the Philippines with goals to expand abroad. Therefore, there are 3 crucial components you must undertake if you are going to trial campaigns before full investment.
1. Set up Analytics
Although you may look to initiate a trial campaign as a means to save budget for a full launch later down the line, you cannot ignore the need to implement a system of analytics. Analytics will provide insight into what is working and what isn’t. So if you are launching, say, a new line of handbags and your primary concern is awareness via your website, make sure you are tracking page views, unique visitors and earned media. This will help tell you if your material is capturing people’s attention and which social media outlets are driving the most ROI alongside your KPIs. Without analytics, you are left guessing what worked and what didn’t through purely soft measures. Further, you can use these initial readings to benchmark success and growth later down the line.
2. Use Qualitative Data
As well as the hard numbers of data analytics, also employ qualitative data to coincide people’s thoughts alongside their actual behaviour. If analytics are showing that people are clicking to your website in droves, but consumer research learns that people find the site boring and unappealing, then you know your media drivers work, but your content is not engaging. You can then also implement analytics to understand repeat visitation and dwell time. This complementary process can allow you to tweak and refine your marketing before investing more media money.
3. Invest in Strategic Planning
More often than not clients will invest in trial campaigns if they have not taken the time to invest in strategic planning. Strategic planning is the process of gathering insight to identify opportunities for your brand or product which will then inspire creative content sure to resonate with your target audience. By getting this foundation in place you are able to build the components of a successful campaign from the get-go because you now have a great working knowledge of how to highlight your brand and where to highlight it.
So while trialling a campaign may sound appealing as people consider it an easy means to test out multiple ideas and executions of their brand with soft investment, I suggest that you no longer view trial campaigns as a “trial.” Anything you put out in the market will have an impact on your brand and the confidence behind it. So instead, use analytics, qualitative data and strategic planning to launch your campaign with the greatest effects from the very beginning. You can always invest more money further down the line, but use these initial days to lay a foundation for a campaign that will have immediate success alongside long-term success.