*** How to do Customer Marketing testing

“We don’t need testing. We know what works.”

“If you do no testing at all, no one will complain.”

OK, the title of this article by way of DM News is actually How to do direct marketing testing, but I figured some folks who should read it might not with “direct marketing” in the title.

Arthur Middleton Hughes is one of the great educators in database marketing, and this article hits on several issues that are very well known in the offline customer marketing business, but few folks in online practice.  Control groups, half-life effects, best customer segmentation, effects of promotion beyond the campaign.

He also briefly addresses a problem I run into all the time.  Things are “going great”, so we don’t need to test.  Underlying this statement is frequently a very weird emotion peculiar to many online operations, especially when I talk about control groups.  It’s the “what if we find out our results are not as good as management thinks” problem.

In other words, the “not broke, why fix it” issue.

Not sure why this occurs so much with online when compared with offline, though it probably is simply an issue of undeveloped analytical culture.  Why else would people be afraid of failure, if failure is truly embraced as a learning experience?

Perhaps a culture problem:  Testing is OK as long as it doesn’t rock the boat too much, doesn’t push the edge of knowledge out too far, is safe and sterile and won’t result in any quantum leaps in knowledge.  “Safe testing” only.

Perhaps an idea problem:  The testing culture is fine, but has become too robotic, no really new ideas, people don’t know of any high-impact, meaningful tests to conduct?

What’s going on where you work?

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