Why You Should Apply Experimental Research in Marketing


April 3, 2023

Wondering what is experimental research in marketing and how you can leverage it for better business results?

Marketing experimentation is an excellent way for companies to test out marketing ideas before putting them in motion. This applies to both products that are about to launch and digital marketing campaigns.

Though it sounds tedious, going through this process helps you avoid wasting resources by identifying which executions are meet and exceed your targets. It poses one fundamental question – that of effectiveness, and which leads to campaigns that are above that of your competitors’.

Meanwhile, an ineffective marketing experiment gives you learning opportunities for you to correct errors and build upon existing data banks that inform future campaigns. It also helps you develop a better understanding of the audiences you market to – an inherent pillar of conversion rate optimization.

ADDITIONAL READING: What is Conversion Optimization: A Primer for Online Marketers

With that, you could say that marketing experimentation expands the potential of your business. Where experimentation continuously adds onto the value of your campaigns and business intelligence.

If you’ve been reading about marketing experimentation or using experimental research in the field and find yourself without answers, then this guide can help you out.

What is experimental research in marketing

Experimental research is a type of study that involves two sets of variables. The first variable is called a control variable which is compared against a dependent variable. The former is compared against the latter which is modified and measured against the constant to uncover a result that validates or denies your hypothesis.

When used in marketing, this type of research is done to gain insight into consumer behavior and the effectiveness of different marketing strategies. Building upon your existing data from various tests, experimental research in marketing leads ultimately to understanding your consumer’s motivations, what drives their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with products and services, and how you can best connect your brand values with these needs, wants, and motivations.

For example, if a researcher wanted to examine how different colors affect consumer purchasing habits, they could create two identical ads but vary only the color across each ad. They could then measure the outcomes of each advertisement (e.g. click-through rate) in order to determine which color was more effective at driving engagement or conversions. This type of experiment allows researchers to pinpoint the exact effect that each independent variable has on the outcome they are trying to measure.

Experimental research in marketing can be used in many areas including product development, pricing strategies, advertising campaigns, website optimization, market segmentation studies, customer service evaluations, and more. It can also provide valuable insights into consumer preferences and trends over time which can help marketers tailor their strategies for maximum success.

By using experimental research in marketing, gain an important advantage over competitors who may not have access to this information or are unable to interpret it correctly. Above all, it arms organizations with data-driven knowledge that informs strategic decisions and maximize campaign results.

Five-step marketing experimentation

When conducting marketing experiments, you allow data to point you to the direction of the most effective campaign. That said, the most fundamental benefit of marketing experiments is that it allows you to move with more certainty that your campaigns will lead to valuable results.

But conducting these experiments are easier said than done. And although summarized in five steps, it’s important to execute them with logical and analytical thinking.

Step 1: Identify and formulate the problem or opportunity.

Creating a hypothesis is the first stage in conducting marketing experiments. Your hypothesis is what you are attempting to prove and should be testable. This step can be boiled down into three parts:

  • Market Research Problem: The market research problem is the rationale for conducting the market research process. It specifies the research objectives, how the study will be carried out, and the expected outcome of the market research study.
  • Marketing Research: Your marketing research should seek to discover challenges and opportunities in order to achieve your marketing objectives. Determining your research objective helps you plan, develop, and evaluate appropriate marketing strategies.
  • Management Decision Problem: Management decision problem inquires as to what the decision maker must do. It is a broad-based problem that employs marketing research to enable managers to make appropriate decisions, with the goal of determining what information is required to make the optimal decision.

Step 2: Plan the research and gather data.

During the research process, you may come across other data that have tested your theories or have opinions about best practices. Take note of these when conducting your own experiment, but keep in mind that every audience, brand, and industry is unique. Your research data can either be Primary or Secondary.

  • Primary data is information that will be acquired for the first time with the intention of solving a specific problem. It answers specific research problems using current data.
  • Secondary data is any previously gathered data for any reason other than the one at hand, which can be further classified as internal and external sources. Secondary data has two sources:
    • Internal sources such as data taken from the company’s website, monthly reports, blogs, or even social media.
    • External sources such as data received from outside the company, including, but not limited to government agency reports, business journals, podcasts, or news media information.

Step 3: Establish the proper key performance indicators and metrics.

Focus on selecting the appropriate metrics once you’ve established your hypothesis and investigation. You should use measurements that will tell you whether your hypothesis is correct or not. Among these metrics is a key performance indicator (KPI).

A KPI assures that the key objectives are at the forefront of your decision-making. Indeed, in order to assess success or failure, you’ll need something tangible to compare and guarantee you’re looking at facts.

Lastly, creating a marketing baseline based on previous strategies will provide a distinct perspective on your current audience and brand. This information would be gathered through reviewing analytics for your website, email, social media, and so on.

Look for industry-specific best practices and approaches where possible.

Step 4: Execute the experiment.

Once your research is complete, it is now time to present your findings and put them into action. Begin creating inbound marketing strategies and tactics. Put your discoveries to the test and get started.

The most important point in executing your experiment is this: challenges, business environments, and trends are continually changing and evolving. Thus, your experiment must also continually adapt to the changes in the market.

Moreover, when executing your experiment, you might discover new data or data not previously taken into consideration that could potentially be beneficial to your marketing experimentation.

Lastly, you should always review your statistics and data on a frequent basis to see where you can make improvements.

Step 5: Analyze the data.

The last step is data analysis. The aim of data analysis is to identify relevant information and conclusions from a set of data that can be utilized to generate insights. Hence, when your marketing experiment is finished, compare the results to the KPIs you defined.

Some tests will tell whether your hypothesis is true, but others may reveal surprising results that necessitate additional testing. This is the point at which you will accept or reject your initial hypothesis.

Examine the various metrics you’ve chosen to track for your campaign. They are the determinants of the validity of your hypothesis. This will allow you to come up with ideas for improving the material on your page.

Four questions about marketing experimentation, answered

Now that we know the importance of marketing experiments as well as the steps in making them effective, let us know the Frequently Asked Questions regarding marketing experiments.

1. What are market experiments?

Market Experiments are research techniques described as “the process of carrying out such an investigation or test.” It is experimenting with a fragmented market in order to uncover new prospects for businesses.

2. How to do Digital marketing testing and experimentation?

Digital marketing refers to the delivery of advertising via digital channels to promote companies and connect potential customers via the internet and other kinds of digital communication such as search engines, websites, and social networking sites. You can conduct digital marketing testing and experimentation either through website marketing, pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, email marketing, or social media marketing.

3. How to create a marketing experiment?

Briefly, a marketing experiment is a type of market research in which the purpose is to uncover new advertising techniques or validate existing ones. You can create a marketing experiment by following the following steps: (A.) Brainstorm and prioritize experiment ideas; (B.) Find one idea to focus on; (C.) Research; (D.) Execute the experiment; (E.) Analyze the data.

4. What is the importance of running marketing experimentations?

A marketing experiment is important because it supplies you with vital information that is based on facts, rather than opinions and beliefs. As such, when you conduct marketing strategies, you will come more equipped because of the data you have previously gathered therefore allowing you to take calculated risks and a more proactive approach in your marketing strategies.

What companies can do experimentation?

Marketing experimentation is not only limited to large companies that have a well-defined structure and advertising teams that have all the resources at their disposal. Conducting a marketing experiment is also available to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The benefit of conducting a marketing experiment, especially for SMEs, are brand awareness and identity as well as more advertising targeting and reach. It’s important to have a clear idea of your goals before starting any marketing experiment. This way you can accurately measure the success of your efforts.

Key takeaways

Indeed, conducting marketing experiments is one of the most important aspects before implementing your marketing strategy. However, before executing, marketing experiments involve a process that should be followed so your campaigns can be effective.

In that regard, here are a few reminders that you can take home with you:

  • Follow the steps in marketing experimentation. Following the steps in conducting a marketing experiment is imperative so that your marketing experiment will be effective. An effective experiment allows you to launch a marketing strategy/idea with little to no worry about its success or failure.
  • Always do your research. Researching before executing your experiment is one of the more important aspects of marketing experimentation. Without valuable data, you will not be able to determine what are the important areas in your objective that you want to change.
  • Only focus on achievable objectives. While marketing experimentation has a wide range, still you must confine yourself to achievable objectives. Objectives that significantly affect your business, the resolution of which will give you a competitive edge over your competitors.

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