Don´t commit for the long term until you test over the short term

friday, 25 september of 2009

Don't commit for the long term until you test over the short term

by Trey Ryder

You've probably found marketing opportunities that you'd like to try -- but then you discover they come with a lengthy commitment. Yellow page ads require 12 months or more. I heard of a bus bench that requires 6 months. And so forth.

The only way to test a marketing opportunity is to test small. No doubt, your sales rep will show you testimonials from happy advertisers. And you'll likely see page after page of powerful statistics. So you might conclude that your ad can't lose. Not so. Even if you design a perfect ad -- with a powerful message and high-impact graphics -- your ad could still fall flat on its face if for no other reason than that medium doesn't reach your target audience.

So, unless you've got money to burn, don't start big. Start small. In place of a full-page ad, test a quarter-page ad. In place of 15 or 20 radio commercials, test five, or even three. If you get a few responses -- and if you're pleased with the quality of the inquiries -- you can always buy more. But if you start big, you may be over your head in debt with huge media bills before you discover that you made a mistake -- or that something went wrong.

Also, don't forget the opportunity cost of other marketing efforts you could test if you didn't have this long-term commitment. Even if you assume you will attract a few new clients, does this opportunity allow you to use the money in the way that you think is best?

So consider not only the length of your commitment, but the other opportunities you lose by making this commitment. This will help you make better marketing decisions.


© Trey Ryder

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