It was during a recent coaching session that the subject of ‘Testing versus Trusting’ came up.

The basic premise is that some people, whether in business or personally, need to have absolute trust in their methodology, actions or plans before they can execute them, while others are happy to dip their toes in, or simply have a go and see what happens.

In the first instance ‘Trusting’, while waiting for the stars to align and getting all ducks in a row can often lead to procrastination and delays, which stalls momentum and business growth.

‘Testing’ meanwhile, is agile, experimental and offers opportunities to learn quickly and adapt. Testers forgive their mistakes, allowing themselves the chance to ‘fail’ or at least not achieve everything all at once. With less pressure to succeed every time they have more chance to grow.

Two good examples of where ‘testing’ has achieved great results in our younger life are riding a bike or learning to swim. Who would ever trust that a machine with two – very thin- wheels would be able to support our weight, enable us to balance and carry us from A- B?

Or, when stood at the edge of a swimming pool for the first time, that the outcome of jumping in would be anything other than sinking – or worse. Yet, through perseverance, pushing boundaries – and hopefully having some fun – we learn to ride and we learn to swim.

These two opposite paradigms can often be applied to organisation’s approach to marketing. With a rigorous sign off process, the need for guaranteed results, waiting for the right market conditions, or even disagreements between senior stakeholders on the colour palate, marketing is stifled and often stalls at the planning stage.

But, if we adopt the ‘testing’ approach, we can often let the market decide which of our activities, executions, and palettes are more suitable.

The proliferation of low cost web design software and the global use of social media are obvious examples of a low-cost, low risk approach to testing the market. A Facebook advertising campaign, for example, can reach tens of thousands of target customers for a few pounds.

Other, great examples of ‘testing’ can be in an organisations content strategy, on page SEO or A/B split testing across e-mails and direct mail campaigns. By selecting a test group of your marketing database and seeing which campaign gets the best engagement, may save costs and improve ROI in the long run.

Many organisations can be put off this approach, because they have ‘tested’ a campaign or channel in the past and it didn’t work. One thing to remember with this approach is to understand what you are testing, why you are doing it and being realistic in your goals and expectations.

Setting goals that are aligned to your tests is key to their success or failure. Taking learnings from each aspect can be a success in itself.

If your marketing has stalled or just needs a kick start, take the time to test your marketing plans, and trust in a business that can get results. Get in touch

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