Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Testing To Make IM Fast and Simple

I’ve pointed out that testing is a time-honored direct marketing technique that has taken on greater capabilities on the Internet. Several important items have drifted into my inbox over the past couple of weeks and I’d like to bring them together. Marketers need to be testing and there are an increasing number of services to help them deal with the complexities of doing reliable tests.

Many of you are familiar with the work of Avinash Kaushik, his blog and his book on Internet metrics. Recently he was interviewed by Brian Eisenberg of FutureNow and Grok.com, who has just written a book on testing. It’s a 30-minute interview (access from this page) but worth playing in the background while you read your mail.

Let me give you a brief overview. Kaushik emphasizes how fast the web moves and how flexible marketers have to be to keep up with it. The weeks and months it took to read the old direct mail tests just don’t cut it on the web. What the marketer needs to be able to do is:

• Encourage a flow of ideas and validate the good ones
• Lower the risk of making marketing decisions
• Do it in a way that’s fast and simple.

Testing is the key first step. Success comes from superb execution.

My last post on testing generated two comments that contribute to the discussion. They are from two marketing services firms that appear to serve different market segments with testing products. Both commenters basically agree that Google Website Optimizer may be a good way to get started in testing, but it doesn’t produce results that have a high level of statistical confidence.

Widemile is a service that targets agencies needing testing services for their clients. A lot of firms/a lot of agencies don’t have the in-house expertise. They need services and Widemile concentrates on the optimization of landing pages. They have a brief demo; check it out. Billy Shih has an informative blog that focuses on testing.

SiteSpec appears to serve clients directly with testing services that include A/B splits and multivariate tests. It has an interesting platform, well explained in a demo. There’s also a video on their home page.

Testing is important, but most of us need help. That includes knowing the right questions to ask and the kind of results to demand. Here are some good resources to help you upgrade your own knowledge about this key avenue to Internet marketing success.

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