From startups to Fortune 500s: This marketing strategy is unbeatable

You need a new marketing strategy and "test-driven marketing" is the prime candidate.

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When was the last time you revisited your marketing strategy? Or do you even have one?

No pre-pandemic marketing strategy is viable in today’s environment. If you haven’t reconsidered your strategy or if you aren’t getting the results that you want and need, it’s time for a change. The modern customer has adapted, and your strategy must follow suit.

Surprisingly, many marketing organizations don’t have a strategy — just a collection of disconnected tactics. It’s no surprise that marketers are struggling to get results and meet their goals.

Continued economic changes add additional pressure and urgency for marketing organizations to throw out their old strategy and adopt a new, more effective strategy to survive and grow.

What makes a good marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy is a framework that provides clear direction on how you will achieve your objectives. It’s not one or more tactics, and not having a strategy is unacceptable.

Here are 4 of the key attributes of an ideal marketing strategy:

Reduce waste

Waste is the biggest threat to marketing success, and minimizing it is critical for success.

With an effective strategy, you should be able to minimize your investment. That means spending less time, money, and effort to achieve your objectives.

Maximize revenue

Peter Drucker famously said that the goal of marketing is to create a customer. In other words, marketing must generate revenue. 

The right marketing strategy will enable you to not only generate revenue but to maximize it. Every dollar you invest in your marketing must deliver a multiple.

Accelerate results

Most marketing doesn’t get results, but it should. More importantly, the right marketing strategy should enable you to get results as quickly as possible. 

Marketers can’t afford to wait around to see if a campaign works or not. You need results fast.

Improve confidence

Insights are the rocket fuel of successful marketing. When you know what works (and what doesn’t), you can have more confidence in the success of your marketing.

An effective marketing strategy must provide a continuous flow of valuable insights to inform your current and future initiatives.

These may seem unattainable, but there is, in fact, a modern marketing strategy that makes achieving these not only feasible but virtually guaranteed.

The modern marketing strategy

Marketing is unpredictable, uncertain, and ever-changing. That’s just the nature of the beast.

To capitalize on this, modern marketers are adopting test-driven marketing as their strategy.

As a result, no one knows what will work. That’s why testing and experimentation are crucial, especially given how much the world, and consumer behavior, has changed recently.

Test-driven marketing is a framework that enables marketing organizations to focus on the most impactful parts of their marketing by using a series of experiments to validate assumptions, gain valuable insights, and accelerate results.

Combining a strategic focus on the areas of highest return with the power of experimentation allows marketing organizations to rapidly get results, learn what works, and avoid wasting time and budget.

Most importantly, because experimentation is central to the strategy, it eliminates debate about the best way to achieve your objectives. With this test and learn approach, anything has potential until proven otherwise. The best and most successful ideas win based on data and real-world performance.

All of this makes test-driven marketing the most effective modern marketing strategy. It fulfills each of the four aforementioned key attributes, it’s simple to adopt, and extremely powerful.

My clients who have adopted test-driven marketing have increased revenue by millions of dollars in the last 12 months, acquired tons of invaluable insights, and have gained tremendous momentum on their objectives.

If you need a new marketing strategy (spoiler alert: you do) then test-driven marketing is the obvious choice to accelerate your results and achieve your objectives.

Implementing test-driven marketing

Any effective strategy must be simple, easy to understand, and sustainable. Test-driven marketing passes the litmus test with flying colors.

Here are the five steps for implementing test-driven marketing:

Step 1: Assess

Every strategy is dependent on the arena in which it is executed. That means you must evaluate your industry, competitors, and your capabilities. I’m not talking about a SWOT analysis, which is a frivolous exercise. Instead, you need to map out the areas of the market that have opportunities where you can gain an advantage and maintain a stronghold.

Step 2: Focus

The biggest challenge of marketing organizations is a lack of focus. Test-driven marketing isn’t just about running lots of experiments; it’s about focusing your efforts where they count.

Work with your team to identify the three or four critical areas of focus — the things that, if you could improve, would have a monumental impact on the business. These are your strategic pillars, and you must focus all efforts and investments in these areas.

Having a narrow focus can be intimidating, but don’t be afraid to commit. You can reevaluate your strategic pillars in six months.

Step 3: Experiment

Now that you have a few strategic pillars, you can operationalize experimentation throughout the marketing organization with a focus on your most impactful areas.

Doing this well requires two things: implementing an optimization and experimentation program and ensuring a narrow focus on the strategic pillars.

Fortunately, neither are difficult, but they can be challenging for marketing teams that aren’t accustomed to either.

Step 4: Insights

As you begin to run lots of experiments, you’ll gain a bunch of valuable insights. Remember, the goal of experiments is not to get a better result — that’s a byproduct. The real value in experimentation is the insights that accrue as a result. When you can learn what works and what doesn’t, your marketing becomes exponentially more effective both now and in the future.

The best way to capture these insights is to build a “book of knowledge” or an insights library; a central repository of the key observations and takeaways from your experiments. 

What has worked well? Why?

What hasn’t worked? Why not?

What internal best practices should we adopt, backed by the data and evidence?

Step 5: Application

If you only follow the previous steps, you’ll have tremendous success with your marketing. But why stop there?

By applying the insights you’ve gained to your existing marketing efforts, you can instantly raise the total level of your performance.

Too often, marketing teams run out of capacity and can’t fully capitalize on the benefits of the insights they’ve acquired. Rolling out your insights throughout the organization and across your existing efforts is a crucial step that makes test-driven marketing extremely powerful.

As you become more familiar with test-driven marketing, you can also bring in other departments, including sales, customer support, and customer research, for example. This additional perspective will help you amplify your experiments, gather more insights, and help the organization adopt a test-driven approach.

Rethink your strategy

Modern marketing organizations have realized that the world — and consumers — have changed. As a result, your strategy must change with it. Failing to do so would be a catastrophic mistake and one that many organizations are making without even realizing it.

2023 is your chance to approach marketing from a new perspective. If you want better results, faster, and with less waste, then perhaps it’s time to throw out your existing marketing strategy, and embrace test-driven marketing.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Tim Parkin
Tim Parkin is a consultant, advisor, and coach to marketing executives globally. He specializes in helping marketing teams optimize performance, accelerate growth, and maximize their results. By applying more than 20 years of experience merging behavioral psychology and technology, Tim has unlocked rapid and dramatic growth for global brands and award-winning agencies alike. He is a speaker, author, and thought leader who has been featured in AdAge, AdWeek, Inc, TechCrunch, Forbes, and many other major industry publications. Tim is also a member of the American Marketing Association, Society for the Advancement of Consulting, and an inductee to the Million Dollar Consulting Hall of Fame.

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