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Mar 06, 2007

Best Tests: 6 Marketers Reveal What Worked & Lessons Learned

SUMMARY: Tests. Tests. Tests. From mobile to customer ratings, eyetracking to email, marketers are busy conducting all sorts of tests. We asked speakers from recent ad:tech conferences to tell us what they’ve done and what challenges they’ve seen.

Includes tests from 20th Century Fox, Panasonic, Golfsmith International, Yahoo!, JG Wentworth and more. Here are their secrets ...
Mobile Marketing Drives Movie Awareness
“One of the tests that stood out for us was around the campaign for ‘The Omen.’ This was within the theatrical division of 20th Century Fox, and the client allowed us to test mobile,” says Rick Corteville, Executive Director, Media, Organic Inc.

The objective of the campaign was to re-create a similar level of excitement and awareness for the remake of ‘The Omen,’ generating awareness among a younger audience who's inundated with media choices and advertising.

They positioned it as a horror film and a psychological thriller by customizing messaging to appeal to audiences, executing a viral mobile campaign to connect 18- to 24-year-olds with the film. Examples:

- Used a peer-to-peer mobile marketing component.
- Allowed users to send their name, number and a pre-scripted text message to a friend’s mobile number.
- The text message included an Interactive Voice Response number to listen to a message or to direct a friend to ‘The Omen’ Web site.
- The audio clip was a message from an actual character in the movie.

75% of the people who called to hear the audio file forwarded a ‘warning’ message via the banners.

“Overall, we were surprised by the sheer volume of interactions with this campaign, Corteville says. “We thought that some initial learnings would be garnered around the test, such as interactions or expands of the ad, but that not as many people would actually send the message. There was a level of excitement around the test as it opened up the client’s flexibility to dedicate budget toward other interactive/emerging mediums. Additionally, we were able to use this knowledge as the foundation against which we compared mobile efforts for subsequent campaigns.”

Golfsmith Scores With Customer Ratings in Email
Golf and tennis equipment retailer Golfsmith International Inc. distributed an email campaign leveraging customer ratings to determine merchandising, realizing a 55% higher clickthrough rate and a 54% lift in sales per email vs baseline campaigns that had not leveraged customer word of mouth.

“Golfsmith had a hunch that the online conversion lift they had seen through the company Web site would translate well to targeted email blasts,” says Brett Hurt, Founder & CEO, Bazaarvoice Inc., a company that worked with Golfsmith. “They mined their extensive review volume to include representative feedback in the blast campaign, accompanied by star rating, product photo, bundle price and a link to ‘deep-dive’ into adjacent product review content on-site.

The results have shown that the effort was worthwhile, says Matt Corey, Golfsmith’s Marketing VP. “We'll continue to use the voice of the customer in our outbound marketing campaigns to drive superior results.”

Landing Page Search Test
Specialty financial firm J.G. Wentworth provides two core products that were developed for two unique customer groups and are serviced by separate business units. Although the products differ greatly, many people who require Product B often confuse it with Product A, search for the term “Product A” and land on the incorrect product application.

“The problem was that we could not determine whether a person who searched on the term ‘Product A’ was, in fact, a Product A lead or if they were really looking for Product B,” says Patrick McKenna, CEO & Founder, DMi Partners, a company that worked with J.G. Wentworth. “We tested two landing pages for search traffic from the Product A keywords. Half of the traffic was directed to the Product A landing page and half to Product B.

Overall, the Product A landing page proved to be more effective on two levels. For people who realized they were on the incorrect page, there was a higher propensity for those who came from the Product A landing page to navigate through the site to Product B than from B to A. Also, more people who went to the Product B page became qualified leads for Product A than for B. As a result, J.G. Wentworth continues to drive more traffic to the Product A forms.

“We were surprised that so many people were searching on the 'A' keywords when that wasn’t the product they required,” McKenna says. “We took it as a sign that J.G. Wentworth should create more educational materials on the difference between the two products to help potential clients identify the correct product. The test significantly improved the success rate of our marketing.”

Behavioral Targeting Beats Contextual in Eyetracking Test
For a plasma television campaign, Panasonic figured out that not only was behavioral targeting more efficient than contextual targeting in delivering a qualified audience but that it outperformed contextual targeting in lifting brand awareness and purchase intent.

“After running eyetracking tests on the campaign, we learned that the reason for the out-performance was that consumers appeared to look at the behavioral targeted ads more, and for a longer period of time, than they did for the ads that were delivered in context,” says Dave Morgan, Founder & Chairman, Tacoda, which helped Panasonic.

Display Advertising’s Impact on Consumer Engagement
The impact of display advertising on consumer engagement was a hot topic among Yahoo’s clients, says Bonnie Becker, Director, Yahoo!’s Pharma Category.

Engagement can take many forms. “One of the most valued engagement metrics is search queries," Becker says. "A search query on a branded product is a clear illustration of consumer engagement because a consumer has raised his or her hand and asked for information on a specific brand.”

Her team’s hypothesis was that display advertising drove search queries. So, they partnered with a large pharma brand advertiser on the Yahoo! front page and measured the impact on branded search queries.

Some of the results were expected and some were not. As expected, the day of the Yahoo! front-page advertisement, queries for the brand increased 15%. “However, the day after the advertisement, brand search queries increased 75% -- obviously unexpected," Becker says. "This test confirmed that display advertising does affect engagement via search and that the message resonates with consumers for considerably more than one day.”

Sweet Success of Product-Naming Promotion
Rita’s Water Ice, an Italian ice company, conducted a localized pilot program involving a unique product-naming promotion for a new line of blended desserts. The product was made available throughout the Lehigh Valley, PA, area where, after tasting, patrons were encouraged by offline promotions to go online and suggest a name.

The campaign's online components, combined with offline promotions at Rita's franchises, were designed to build awareness for the new product and increase traffic to stores and to the Web site. These patrons were driven to a site titled Rita’s TBD which, in addition to suggesting names, allowed users to choose flavors of Italian ice and custard to blend with cookie bits to create their own custom flavors in a highly interactive site.

“We expected success on a local level due to the level of customer involvement in the campaign, but we were delighted to see great success very early on with sales of the new product accounting for 10% of overall sales at some locations,” says Robin Neifield, CEO, NetPlus Marketing Inc., a company that worked with Rita’s Ice on the campaign.

The creative campaign boosted customer satisfaction and support of Rita's Ice products and initiatives by engaging its customers in meaningful dialogues and by applying their feedback directly to the business. Because of the program’s success, they plan to roll out similar campaigns across the country through 400+ franchises.

Useful links related to this article

MarketingSherpa's 2007 Wisdom Report:

20th Century Fox:

Bazaarvoice Inc.:

DMi Partners:

Golfsmith International Inc.:

NetPlus Marketing Inc.:

Organic Inc.:


Rita’s Water Ice:



See Also:

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