At Motherlode, we endorse the idea of “scientific marketing”, which applies the principles of the scientific method to develop methodologies for iterative marketing. The scientific method has been refined by the science community over centuries to help researchers differentiate successful theories from those that fail. Our view is that marketing should be treated the same way as scientific research, using new data to reform existing theories of human behaviour.
Here’s how we translate the scientific method into a marketing framework.
1. Determine The Problem. What is the customer problem that we are going to offer to solve? It is vital that there is clarity on the problem at the outset of the process. Marketing often merely tries to communicate a range of products and services on offer. On the contrary, we start with an articulation of the customer’s problem. This process involves the business providing marketing with a clear Campaign Brief.
2. Background Research. Before we can construct a marketing plan to solve a customer’s problem, we need to ensure that we understand the customer’s needs and mindset. This involves research to make sure we genuinely understand what the customer’s problems are; who the competition is for solving those problems; and whether or not the customer actually wants and needs help solving the problem. Have others (internally or externally) tried to solve this problem in the past and what were the results? We should learn from other’s experiences as much as possible and try to avoid repeating other’s mistakes. The Campaign Brief will ask questions regarding how much research data we have access to.
3. Construct Hypothesis. In science, a hypothesis is a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. From a marketing perspective, a hypothesis is a proposed algorithm for obtaining an outcome, e.g. “If we address the customer’s problem X with this message Y, then Z% of them will express interest in learning more about our offering, which should result in W closed sales over the next 180 days.” This hypothesis can then be tested with a marketing experiment. This forms part of our Campaign Plan.
4. Conduct Experiment. A marketing campaign is our experiment. In an ideal situation, we test a campaign with smaller experiments (i.e. with customer advocates or a small segment of the marketplace) and refine the campaign based on results before launching it to the larger segment of the market (the 20/20/60 method – testing a campaign with 20% of your market, refining and testing again with another 20%, and then launching the final campaign to the remaining 60%). A well-crafted experiment will have a set of measurable outcomes to determine the degree of success of the hypothesis.
5. Compile Data. The results of the experiment are collected and consolidated into a spreadsheet that allows for analysis.
6. Analyse Results. We analyse the results of the experiment to see how closely they matched our hypothesis.
7. Draw Conclusions. From our analysis of the results, we make conclusions about the success of the campaign and how future experiments can be improved and refined. These conclusions are addressed in our Marketing Report.
8. Iterate And Repeat. Our conclusions are integrated into the next campaign (i.e. a new hypothesis) and the process is repeated.
9. Peer Review. We run our marketing campaigns and assumptions past “customer advocates” (friendly and loyal customers who are prepared to help sharpen your campaigns).
We integrate these steps into marketing strategies for our clients to ensure they is data-driven, customer-centric and embrace continuous improvement.