A Quick Guide to A/B Testing

Digital advertising is much more efficient and relatively cheaper than many other forms of traditional ads. Determining which ads work and when to drop an ad is done by using A/B testing. Yes, you can test more than two options at once, but this the simplest form to get the point across for demonstration purposes.

With these testing methods, you can create two competing ads in various formats – based upon clicks and conversions you will be able to kill one ad and keep the ad that works best:

Testing Colors

Design the same ad in different colors – same images, same verbiage, but maybe the background color is different or the image colors are different. This works well with simple images. Load both and run them in the same manner – within a short amount of time you will be able to view the ad that gets the most clicks and converted the customer to your call-to-action.

Testing Content

Usually same images, same colors but the verbiage is different. Some ads just change the first few words to all caps and that is eye catching enough. Once again, this is also an effective way to quickly assess which content is preferred.

Testing Images

We are a visual society – using the same colors and verbiage but changing the image often results in a preferred ad response. You can quickly drop the underperforming ad and continue with the optimal ad image. Using the correct visuals can really boost conversion.

Ultimately your A/B testing should prove some analysis for future ads. This is the quickest and cheapest way to see what appeals without blowing your entire marketing budget.

Innovating Marketing

Guest blog post by one of my former students – Bruce Harper – posted with permission


Marketing is an ever-changing and volatile arena. An amazing product or service can go down in flames without the right marketing team behind it. In decades past, a good label, the right name, a product that is needed, or maybe an actor attached to your brand might have been enough to meet sales goals. Innovation that takes place in the research and development lab can really give your company and product the edge in competition. Having an amazing team that can develop something that has a demand, a need, in the consumer eye is crucial for making a mark in your industry. That being said, it is also imperative that your marketing and innovation teams work together so closely that they form an innovation and marketing culture together that is mutually beneficial. Charles Gaudet, “The Entrepreneur’s Marketing Champion”, addressed this in Forbes:

“Every business needs innovation, just as much as it requires marketing. The goal of innovation in business is to give customers the best possible products, services and experiences – which makes marketing a much simpler task.”1

Your marketing team gathers and distributes information to your consumer. Your consumers’ responses  are relayed to the innovation team to assist them in the discovery of new evolutions that solve new problems. These elements need to work together seamlessly in order to progress and profit.

A commercial that grips you, holds your attention because it is funny, provocative, or exhilarating: What does it tell you? This generation of consumer has the most information at its fingertips than any before, and they won’t buy your product without it first undergoing meticulous scrutiny.

In a marketing oriented Harvard Business Review, Beth Comstock, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at General Electric said:

“The really good innovations – the ones that change the world – need to be explained before they’re accepted.”2

Marketing has had to undergo extreme transformations recently to adapt to the demands of technology and consumers. At General Electric, they understand that most of the battle takes place when you explain your product or service to the consumer. Flashy marketing doesn’t cut it anymore. Products that are lined up by the hierarchy of brand names, prices that must imply quality (yet because of the information readily available via the Internet, are often ignored in favor of purchasing the lower tier product, not only to save money, but because the differences in the products are negligible if not identical), all of these things require substantive marketing, not glitz and glam.

At other times, younger generations are more focused on nutrition and tend to avoid more processed foods. Example: macaroni and cheese, offered by Kraft at one dollar per box, or organic macaroni and cheese, offered by the same price. When the ingredient list is short and can all be pronounced, it’s a good sign.

Marketing and innovation are constantly changing by nature. Keeping a clear eye, while managing a successful product line, is all about blending these elements together in respect to the consumer. Knowing your consumer’s needs and adapting to them with your marketing campaign, as well as your product itself is the key to success.

Keywords: #innovativemarketing #marketing #innovation

1- http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2014/01/22/innovation-vs-marketing-balancing-the-two-key-elements-of-business-success/2/

2 – https://hbr.org/2014/07/dont-sell-a-product-sell-a-whole-new-way-of-thinking/

Inspiration Everywhere

I love this article by Fast Company – 4 Ways to Find Inspiration Everywhere.  I think I

By TZA on Flickr - Creative Commons Lic.

enjoyed it because I have lived much of their “4 ways” and I wanted to write my notes about the topic.

1. Challenge Your Preconceived Notions

This maybe the hardest habit to break. It is easy to fall back on “what we are doing is working, so why change.” Change is good for you and your organization. Companies that embrace change move forward faster. I can think of a couple of companies in the Metro Detroit area that embrace change daily. It is part of their company DNA – Valassis Communications & Menlo Innovations. Both companies live-eat-breathe concepts that kick preconceived notions in the butt. Valassis has a mantra of “what you did yesterday was great – what are you going to do today to improve upon it.” They celebrate even when there is a failure in a project – because they learn and improve from failure. Menlo has a huge sign on their wall – “Make Mistakes Faster.” Probably my favorite sign in the whole world. Menlo also embraces change from the daily rat race of other industry businesses. You have to visit them to see it in action.

I liked one of the comments on the article from  Fast Company – If you’re always afraid to try new things because they might not work, you’re going to have a tough time cultivating your more creative side!  I could not have said it better myself!

 2. Plan Creative Stoking Sessions

I have a lot of creative friends. If I were to poll most of them I think I would find that their responses agree with the article. They don’t make enough creative time. Being creative is not a button you can push on the back of your head to turn it on. It doesn’t always blurt out of your brain. I really think that non-creatives believe we just turn on the creative side and “blop” something wonderful out. I guess I always think of it like a cat – the cat is usually not spontaneously purring, although some cats do that sometimes, for the sake of argument here…let’s say they don’t. Then a human strokes (stokes a response) the cat, and the next thing you know the cat is purring.

Creative sessions do not need to be rigid – the less rigid the better. I like to doodle zentangles – they are not rigid and they make my brain think a little differently.

3. Change up Routine Regularly

This is critical – if you don’t change your routine you are destined to get stuck! A routine is a routine. Start looking at ways you can flip your day

4. Find What Creates Mind Space for You

When I worked at Ford, most of my job was very analytical. Often though, they (bosses, coworkers) would come to me and ask me to do something creative – make a logo, create a website, etc. I had ways I could turn my brain into something more creative, but it took some stoking. I would watch Cirque du Soleil videos on YouTube or go to sites with lots of bright colors – anything to change the brain from analytical to creative.

I have one more to add to the list that was not on the original article.

5. Move Around

There is a reason why so many creatives use desks at which they can sit or stand. Some have even added a treadmill to their standing desks. Movement isn’t just for your overall body, but it is also very good at getting your brain in action. So get up and move, take a walk around your building, go outside and walk a block – anything to get those brain synapses working!

Keywords: #creativity, #inspiration, #creative session, #inspiration

Qualitative vs Quantitative Research

I teach “Principles of Marketing” at night at our local community college. I love teaching. analysis

The chapter that seems to cause the most problems every semester is the chapter that covers marketing research. The students always get stuck on what is qualitative vs. quantitative research.

So let’s make this simple.

Quantitative research implies that there is the ability to somehow “quantify” the results of a question.

This means you can use anything with a number as the response:

Quantitative research implies that there is the ability to somehow “quantify” the result of a question.

This means you can use anything with a number as the response:

    • Likert scale“On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being I don’t like it and 5 being I like it a lot – how do you rate the new flip top lid on our BBQ sauce”
    • Anything that can be measured (measurements, quantity, age, temperature, etc.) – “Please pour out the normal amount of our BBQ sauce you would use on your chicken breast after it has been cooked” (measure the sauce in ounces)
    • Yes/No questions (because they are finite and you can assign a number to it: Yes = 1, No = 0) “Would you buy the redesigned BBQ sauce with the squeezy bottle and flip top lid?



Qualitative research is “touchy feely,” more about “quality” or perceived quality. This type of research uses open ended questions that allow the respondents to answer openly without restrictions.

Questions such as:

  • “Are there other enhancements to our packaging of our BBQ sauce that you would like to see?”
  • “When you tasted the BBQ sauce sample A – what did you like/dislike about the taste of sample A?”
  • “Please taste the cooked BBQ chicken breast we cooked on a grill. Describe the texture and taste as a grilled BBQ sauce.”

If you have trouble remembering which is quantitative and which is qualitative, the quickest way to remember is that quantitative is about numbers and qualitative is about quality.

Keywords: #marketingresearch #research #qualitative #quantitative

Social Media Etiquette


Social media: the one place where if you make a mistake, it may live on longer than you. Social Media imageStars and politicians are most often noted for creating social media blunders and, because of their following,  they are sometimes publicly crucified and rightly so.

So how do you stop from making a social media gaffe?

  1. THINK before you push the message out.
    That may sound simple but think about it before you send it.
    Ask yourself some questions: 

    • Who will this benefit?
    • Is this something I would want my boss to read?
    • Am I benefiting my brand with this post?
  2. If unsure – don’t post until someone approves it.
    • Just because something might be controversial doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be posted – but maybe your boss should bless it before it goes out. 
  3. Be polite!
    • Very few people can get away with being rude. Of course, sometimes hardhitting facts get in the way of being nice. When that happens, at least be factual with links to back up your data.
  4. Use shortened URLs and social tools!
    • I use HootSuite for my posts and bit.ly for my shortened URLS – both have free versions and bit.ly has analytics available. With Hootsuite, I love that I can schedule my social posts in advance and if needed, I can postpone them to a later date. Additionally, HootSuite allows you to monitor your brand. Bit.ly gives me simple analytics to better understand if my links were effective. 
  5. Have a social media plan!
    1. Have an emergency plan built into this that indicates who/what when there is an emergency – who posts what. Don’t wait until the emergency happens – have something your attorney has already blessed. When I teach my students PR, one of the items I mention is having ALL of their emergency plans ready so they are not posting, talking to the media, etc. during a time of urgency.

Of all the items mentioned above, the one that should be stressed the most is the THINK! So many posts that get people in trouble are made when they are not thinking clearly.

Keywords: #pr, #publicrelations, #socialmedia, #etiquette, #hootsuite, #bit.ly