Why is better than which

With our intense focus on analytics, experiments, A/B testing and big data, we’re living in rich times as far as data driven, continuous improvement of marketing. Yet most of us would agree that marketing is both art and science. If we know one version of an ad works better than another by looking at the analytics data, can we say for sure why?

Surely knowing why one ad performs better than another will accelerate our ability to generate the greatest result, the fastest in the future, right? When analytics tells us which is the winner, shouldn’t we take the time to explore why?

I was pondering this very question today and it occurred to me that a classic ad critique might be a good way to document what is truly different between the ads. Not just the apparent wording, graphic, color theme or placement differences, but, rather, the broader marketing differences. By comparing two ads for target, objectives, content, primary benefit, image and creative execution, it may become more obvious what is really different and why one worked better than the other. This is as applicable to a landing page as it is to an online ad, paid search placement or inbound marketing content item.

Don’t throw random acts of marketing at your experiments, use decided alternative approaches so you can learn more about your market’s preferences, interests, sources, needs and responses.