The Mystery of the Incomplete Explanation – Part 3

After a lengthy respite, I felt The Detective was ready to address the third point he had made regarding the article we had sent out a few weeks prior. I decided on the direct route.

“So, Test, Test, Test, sir?”

“Oh Watson, must we? Isn’t this one so obvious as to truly not require any explanation?” The Detective sighed.

“Perhaps sir, but what is obvious to some is often hidden to others. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to review a bit?” I answered.

“Very well. The issue is simple Watson. The best laid plans of mice and men, that kind of thing. You may think that everyone will look at and love your message, but everyone might have a different idea. The only way to tell is to perform a variety of tests.” The Detective began.

“Such as?” I asked, prodding him to continue.

“Hmm, such as the test we are performing on the email that will deliver this very post Watson! Change the subject!” The Detective declared.

“Change the subject sir? But we are discussing the subject we said we would,” I responded, slightly confused.

“Not the subject itself Watson, but the subject line of the email. It is a simple matter to see if more people actually open the email when there is a different subject line – perhaps it is more interesting, or just a change of pace that makes people curious; it isn’t what they were expecting so maybe this message should be opened when others are not.

“Another test would be to change the delivery of the message. Not the message itself, but the words and phrasing. Perhaps the background, the font. Watson, there are as many tests to do as there are messages being sent.

“The key of course is to measure the results of such changes. If you change something and then don’t actually track the results, well, you have wasted your time.

“Now that you have forced me to give some additional thought to it, there is another key to consider. Only change one thing per test. Otherwise how can you know which change caused the change in behavior? Worse, they could cancel each other out and you could miss something that could have been a very powerful change.”

“What do you say to people that they don’t have the time to test things – or they are afraid of making a mistake that would drive people away?”  I retorted.

“Ahh, as to no time, then perhaps they shouldn’t be bothering with marketing.   As to fear of a mistake, that just goes to the point that sometimes you are testing what won’t work. If you make a change and response is worse, that is also an important data point. Sometimes knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do.” The Detective smiled at that.

“A good point sir. Shall we add anything else?” I replied.

“Yes Watson, Let us wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving holiday, and look forward to the end of the year holiday season!” exclaimed The Detective.

“Well played sir. Well played.”






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