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One Tiny Change, Massive Results

You know how a small change in angle can equate to a huge change over long distances? The same is very true in your marketing.

Marketing is all about testing and measuring. If and ad or a script or a postcard or a flyer or a sales presentation doesn't work, try something different. It's not rocket science!

The key, however, is to pay close attention to what you change, so you can understand why what makes the ad ultimately work. In fact, we recommend only changing one thing at a time.

For instance, if an ad didn't work, don't necessarily start from scratch. Try changing the headline. Try changing the placement. Make small changes and monitor the results. But make only one change at a time - and retest. You're looking for the variable that causes the change. If you change 10 things at once, you never know what did it - so what did you learn? It takes patience and fortitude.

I have a real life example for you. It happened this week, to one of your fellow members, who has hired us to manage her radio campaign.

Her company had been running radio with one particular station (in fact, they had been trading services for air time). The ads never worked. No one could figure out why.

Enter Jim and Travis. We created an ad that was VERY SPECIFIC and VERY TARGETED. By the way, we really didn't think radio was the place for this company - but they have a very large trade balance to spend down.

This ad focused on benefits and barely even touched on features. Primarily because the features aren't really what someone would want. But the benefit would be very desirable to small business owners. More on this in another entry.

So the first week ran. 0 calls. Egg on our face? Maybe, but we were smart enough to structure the radio buy in such a way that we could tweak and test and understand. Specifically, we only ran spots in one day part, morning drive. Previously, the station had been running the spots from 6 am to 12 midnight.

So here comes week #2. I say, "Switch all the spot to midday, 11am - 2pm." Why? I wanted to make one tiny change and watch the results - and I didn't think the change need to be in the ad.

On the first day of the this second attempt, I received an email: "We've gotten 4 calls already!!" Wow, what a big change?

Now, if I had made any more than one change, I wouldn't be sure what did it. But now, I know with certainty that the problem was with the day part. We'll be sure never to run her spots in morning drive on that station ever again. That's INVALUABLE data.

Side note: this is different for every product, every station, in every city. That's why we always have to test everything - because nothing works exactly the same twice. (If it did, someone could write a book with all the secrets and all of us marketing guys could shut down our businesses.)

So guess what we're going to do next? A little game called "beat the control." We're going to run in a different day part and see if we can beat mid day. If not, we'll go back to mid day and change the spot a little. Ultimately we will end up with a very solid, proven strategy for use on this station.