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By Eric Andrade

Eric’s views are his own and do not necessarily represent those of the association.

David Ogilvy contended that the most important word in advertising is TEST.

While he spoke mainly about pre-testing prior to launch, testing is more important than ever as budgets shrink and the demands for accountability are grow.

From email marketing to social media, marketers need to focus their efforts on developing communication strategies that are tied to their business objectives, so conversions can be measured, and campaigns can be optimized to deliver better results over time.

It’s common sense, and a marketer’s dream come true … and one that’s not easily realized.

Here are three things that you can do right now to move your organization in the right direction:

1.   Choose What You Measure.

There’s a saying that goes, “Measure twice. Cut once.” But if you are measuring everything, the only thing you can be sure of is that it won’t be clear what to cut, or why. Tethering the data you are mining to your business objectives, marketing strategies and communication tactics will give you the filters you need to create a higher signal-to-noise ratio, and a better idea how you are doing.

2.    Pay Attention. Consistently.

Generating daily, weekly or monthly reports serve a purpose: they give the impression that work is being done. But the real work is in what actions you take after analyzing the data – not in the generation of pretty reports.

By not viewing the data with your objectives, strategies and tactics in mind, reports basically create the data equivalent of highway hypnosis, whereby you’ll just keep on driving when you should be turning, exiting, or pulling over to check your map.

3.  Determine An Effective Optimization Strategy.

This step likely takes more work than the previous two, because at its core, it involves getting agreements from other departments and team leads to take action on the data that you analyze once the answer is staring you in the face.

If we jump back to the highway hypnosis metaphor for a minute: we are all creatures of habit and we generally get used to “the way things are.” And while data reports are interesting, they aren’t always tied to actionable outcomes.

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that although a lot of work goes into the planning, preparation, and launch of marketing communications plans, expecting all programs to be extremely successful in the real world is not realistic. Although, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean a total “do-over” either.

It’s simpler than it seems

If you’ve covered off on the first two steps recommended above: choosing what you measure and watching the data as it comes in as it relates to your strategies, tactics and objectives relative to the communication streams you are pushing out, you will be able to quickly identify what isn’t working. And starting over simply becomes a tweak, not an overhaul of your process and program.

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Eric’s Bio: http://contenttheory.com/about-eric/

Eric’s next blog will cover:

Social Media: How this new marketing channel is evolving and how direct marketers can use it to strengthen their online campaign planning and executions to deliver more conversions.