Mentor or Role Model. Potato or Po-tah-to?

During my career I’ve attended my share of professional meetings where a speaker attempts to impart some wisdom or life lesson while trying to sound humble. After the first couple hundred or so of these speeches, I find myself drifting to what the server will bring out next — stuffed mushrooms or baby quiche.

In fairness, there is sometimes the moment when out of left field comes the hidden nugget that yanks my focus from food back to the topic of conversation. Recently I attend an alumni function where the speaker really got me thinking – the value and importance of a finding a professional mentor.

I’m not sure of a clear-cut job description, but I think it’s important to establish the difference between what a mentor is and what a role model is. There are similarities yet vast differences.

A role model can be either someone you may or may not know and perhaps admired from afar. Friend, relative, public or historic figure, they have traits that we like and deem worthy of emulating. Professors can be strong role models. Mother Theresa was a great role model.

Mentors, however, are different. Like a role model, a mentor is someone we admire and wish to emulate. But a mentor has personally agreed to help us reach our professional goals. To help teach us those important things that our hefty college tuition didn’t cover.

It’s amazing how academically focused and motivated today’s college students are. I volunteer with several college fraternity groups and we spend time discussing the importance of developing life skills while still in college. Learned skills that can transfer into the business world and mentoring is a topic I’m beginning to incorporate.

As an undergrad it never occurred to me how much I could have strategically influenced the course of my career by having a mentor. Sure I had several internships which helped me on the technical side, but it wasn’t that extra something a mentor could have offered during that important stage of my life.

In my city there were plenty of family friends, fraternity brothers, and other acquaintances who were prominent businessmen. Busy with their own careers, they certainly weren’t going to reach out to me to see if I wanted some guidance. They would have taken me under their wing if only I had had the foresight to research and engage those who were already successful in my intended field. Fortunately I didn’t miss the boat on being mentored. It just took longer to luck into the opportunities.

Mentor on aisle four?

So where do you find a mentor? To my knowledge, no one has built a job board for mentors, but there’s a couple of ways to locate a career guide – be aggressive, do your research and make it happen or just let it happen to you.

In my case, it wasn’t until five years post-graduation that I discovered my first mentor. Before moving to New York City, I never realized how green I was until I first showed up at Grey Advertising.  “Never make plans you can’t break” and “this is business — don’t expect to make friends” were among the many things I learned that first week.  Sounds harsher than it really was and I went on to earn her respect, trust and friendship. Sadly we eventually lost touch but there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for her part in establishing my professional “style” and teaching me to always try to be poised, calm and in control, give great attention to detail and always be willing to be assessable.

10 years later I encountered my second mentor and like the first, I was working for a different advertising agency in Atlanta and she was my supervisor. A completely different dynamic than the first, the relationship tested my ability to think on my feet, to succeed in completely foreign waters, and that you can actually have fun at work. While we no longer work together or live in the same city, like my previous mentor we went on to become great friends and I continue to value her opinions to this day.

Now I’m transitioning to mentor number three and who knows, hopefully more will follow. What’s important for me to remember is to be willing to put yourself out there and never be too old to learn. While I no longer need help in the fundamentals of business acumen I’m excited to be challenged and exposed to new opportunities and ways of doing business.

The business world is constantly evolving and can be cold and harsh. That’s why I believe it is important to pay it forward whenever I can because I know how important it is to have someone in your corner that is removed from the immediate politics and day-to-day ordeals. Someone who can look at situations objectively, point out missed opportunities, be candid, and when necessary, give a deserved, yet friendly kick in the rear. In other words….a mentor.

I wonder if Hallmark has a card for that.

Digital Marketing is Like Fitness

Digital marketing is like fitness. Most fitness enthusiasts know what works for them yet are always on the lookout for something new to kickstart their routine or find ways to more efficiently reach their goals while using metrics to track what is working (and what is not). Marketing is the same way. Many experienced marketers have tools and tricks to enable reaching marketing goals, but they are always keeping up with the trends and constantly try out new tools, if only to see what all the fuss is about. They use metrics to show their progress with various approaches to learn how to adapt.

With fitness as well as with marketing, if you start to slack off, you begin to see the negative results. In fitness, it may be that number on the scale creeping up or feeling your energy level decrease from lack of activity and healthy eating. In marketing, you begin to see your engagement on social media decline, your click-through-rate on your search campaigns go down, and your email bounces increase. These are all signs that you’ve gotten lazy with your approach and need get back in the marketing gym with a refreshed strategy.

A huge similarity is the emphasis on METRICS! It may be more cut and dry for fitness – BMI, mile time, weight, etc.- but, just like fitness, marketing is all about the metrics to show progress in reaching your goals. In marketing, you need to decipher between metrics that are meaningful and those that are simply glamor metrics that won’t help you reach your business goals. Unless you can convert those Facebook “Likes” into loyal customers, don’t put too much emphasis on that metric and focus instead on something like email open rates, if that’s what tends to convert customers.

Another similarity between marketing and fitness is the endless stream of new trends. Think about all the diet and exercise programs that you’re constantly hearing about talked up as “the new big thing”. Well, same goes for marketing. There are so many people out there trying to make an app, a tool, a program, that will simplify your marketing strategy and make reaching your goals more time and cost efficient. But, the truth is, not all of these diets or these marketing tools actually work for you. So, how do you distinguish between the real thing and a bunch of hot air? The sad reality is that there is no quick answer. You need to research, test and analyze to find what works for you specifically because every body and every marketing program is a little different.

Growth Hackers, Growth Hacking and Bullshit

Last week I had a conversation with a newbie marketer who was playing buzzword Bingo with me.  I get that he was trying to impress me with lingo, since he didn’t have a track record of success to share. But when he started to ask me if I knew about “Growth Hacking and how it was replacing Marketing” I had to stop him and call bullshit before he embarrassed himself further.

Note to Growth Hackers: Learn what marketing really is, not what you think it is, before you try and bullshit by saying Growth Hacking isn’t Marketing (Growth Hacking is a sub-set of Marketing), or saying Marketers aren’t involved in Product Development. Pricing or Sales (they are), or saying Marketing is only outbound promotion, advertising or PR (Marketing is way more than that). I love HubSpot, but candidly they contribute to this confusion by claiming they invented In-Bound Marketing (they didn’t) and that it In-Bound Marketing is different than Marketing (it’s not). Let me share what some world authorities say about what Marketing is.

Peter Drucker (arguably the world’s greatest modern management guru) said this about Marketing. “The aim of Marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” Marketing then, as Drucker defined it, also includes customer insight (Market Research & Segmentation) and building products and services (Product Management).

Segrio Zyman (named by Time magazine as one of the top 3 Marketers of the 20th Century) defines marketing as: “Sell more stuff, to more people, more often, for more money, more efficiently.” Marketing then, as Zyman defines it, also includes Sales, Targeting, Pricing, and Analytics. (Disclosure: I once worked at Zyman Group).

And lastly The Kellogg School of Management (ranked as the number one Marketing MBA program in the world since I think forever), defines Marketing as: “Marketing is the driving force that distinguishes one company from another.” Marketing includes, in Kellogg speak: Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning, Product, Price, Place and Promotion. (Disclosure: I am a Kellogg Grad).

Add it all up and you have Marketing being way more than advertising and promotion; way more.

If Growth Hackers said “Growth Hacking is an emerging marketing discipline”, I’d buy off on that. With Growth Hacking’s focus on the junction of engineers meet marketers, and spending all day dry testing acquisition strategies and applying technology such as A/B testing, analytics and social, I do see Growth Hacking as requiring unique skills due to real-time feedback loops, the compression of the cycle times, and its digital intensity.

Growth Hacking is though, in my opinion, just an additional approach to get, keep and grow profitable customers. It’s an additional arrow in the Marketing quiver, another rung on the Full Stack of Marketing. But I wouldn’t say it’s a new quiver competing with Marketing.

With that in mind if you are a wannabe Marketer, or a “Growth Hacker” who doesn’t know a lot about what Marketing really is, I suggest you go read Phillip Kotler’s Marketing Management (14th Edition). You’ll thank me later. It’s the most comprehensive book in the world about what Marketing really is, written by the guy who invented the Marketing field. We like it so much at Marcademy, that we use it in our Marcademy Fellows program. Enjoy reading it and if you have questions, drop me a note. I’d be glad to help.

Lead Scoring and Digital Body Language is for Closers

“These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you they’re gold, and you don’t get them. Why? Because to give them to you would be throwing them away. They’re for closers.”

So says the sinister Blake (Alec Baldwin) in one of the more memorable lines from Glengarry Glen Ross, the dark 1992 film about downtrodden real estate land sales reps.

The Glengarry Glen Ross leads are golden, supposedly because they have been screened and scored in some fashion. I suspect the leads are people who have the means and interest to invest in speculative land. The leads are perceived as so golden that the office is broken into at night and the leads stolen.

Back in 1992 it would have been a heroic and costly effort with a large margin of error to score leads. And the stack of “qualified” leads that Blake shows the sales team is about the thickness of a ream of printing paper (500 sheets). That’s a lot of leads to parse through. Who do you call first? Who do you call 500th?

In 1992 there were few signals to use. Back then, scoring was mostly based upon explicit demographic data regarding who the prospect was such as what ZIP code they lived in, job title, income, age, industry they worked in, previous purchase, and so on.

But it’s not 1992 anymore. In the digital world we can increase the precision of lead scoring by adding Digital Body Language to decipher the purchase and repeat purchase intent of a prospect or customer. By digital body language I mean aggregating all of the digital activity a company sees from an individual, including offline activity that can be digitized.

- Where did the lead come from?
- What landing pages and web pages did they click on?
- How long were they on the site? How often did they come back?
- What did they download and/or sign up for?
- What emails did they open, what did they click through?
- Is their contact information valid?
- What webinars did they sign up for, attend and for how long, how engage where they?
- What trade shows did they attend, did they stop at your booth?
- Did they ever speak with a sale rep?
- Did they ever Like your Facebook page, or join an industry group you sponsor in LinkedIn?
- How active are they in each?
- Do they write a blog?
- Have they participated in an online chat with your company?
- Are they a Lazarus Lead (dead lead that returns to your site)?

The list is as wide as you can digitize the signal.

Once you have these digital signals, and the traditional demographic information, you run them all thru a regression analysis and identify which signals provide the greatest coefficients towards whatever you want to predict: such as likelihood to buy, purchase size, time to buy, and/or a marginal contribution margin/profitability metric.

If the R-square of the regression is large enough you now have something very powerful that will add considerable value to your enterprise. According to Aberdeen Research, companies that get lead scoring right see increased marketing and sales effectiveness, lead conversion and much more.

You’re able to prioritize your leads with precision and arm your sales reps with deep insights into what is most of interest to the prospect or customer. And leads not yet ready to pass along to sales, due to their scoring, can remain with marketing for further nurturing activities. In addition, digital body language enables your marketing team to determine which lead sources and nurturing techniques produce the best returns, thereby giving you a feedback loop to decide what sources and activities to cut spend/negotiate a better price on, or increase spend and activity on. John Wanamaker famously said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Not with lead scoring and digital body language.

Imagine what your business would be like if all your leads were Glengarry Glen Ross quality. Wouldn’t that be awesome!

4 Things Successful Marketers and CMOs Have In Common

There’s never been a better time to be a marketer. But there’s never been a more challenging time for marketers to get, keep, and grow customers. I understand this business problem personally. I’ve been vice president of marketing for three multibillion dollar companies, several mid-size companies and five successful start ups.

In my career I’ve noticed four things I’ve come to observe in the top most successful marketers and CMOs that I’ve seen. And by top marketers and CMOs, I mean the people who are consistently growing their business, as well as consistently growing their careers. These are the people that have obtained the highest-level jobs in the profession. And by the way, making their numbers, working hard and putting in extra effort is a given.

LIFE LONG LEARNERS

The four things are: number one is they are life long learners. They have formal processes in place to learn and to grow. They constantly are seeking out new information on marketing. They read books, magazine articles from serious business publications such as Harvard Business Review, they went back to school to learn additional skills or get an advanced degree (yea I hear a lot of people saying what about Jobs, Gates and Zuckerberg, but those are the exception plus how many of their top lieutenants don’t have degrees?), and they view themselves as perpetual students. As Steven Covey said, they “Sharpen the Saw”.

HANDS ON – NO EMPTY SUITS

Number two is they are hands on. They get into the weeds. They understand the tools that their teams are using and that modern marketers need to know each and every day. They’re not empty suits. In other words they actually have some certifications and know how to touch a keyboard. For example they don’t need to be the worlds greatest at SEM, but in this case they do know how Google AdWords works and can personally navigate around it and probably a half dozen tools themselves. Their staffs realize you actually know a thing or two. This in particular helps to avoid getting BSed by staff – but better then that you can actually participate in discussions about what to do. Look at the best builders around. Even if they work mostly in an office now, they can still go to a job site and swing a hammer.

VULNERABLE TO A SUPPORT TRIBE

Number three, they’ve built a tribe of peer marketers that they’re able to go to and receive candid advice on their biggest marketing challenges that they’re facing each and every day. This requires a degree of vulnerability to share the good, bad and ugly. But in doing so, they make their business better. They make themselves better. They avoid potholes. They get to a solution sooner. They get a better outcome. They don’t always listen to the advice, but likely there is someone in their tribe who has faced the challenge they are facing, who can give calming advice on how to navigate the waters ahead. And their tribe will yea BS when they see it. Much better to have your tribe call you on the carpet than your boss.

PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY

And finally, they have a high degree of personal accountability. They do what they say, and say what they will do. They track their results daily. They know where key project stand, they know the numbers, they know what is going on. Marketing is a factory with the input being prospects and the output being customers.  Good factory managers know what is going on in their factory floor at all times and they hold themselves accountable if the factory has an Oops. They are not a victim of circumstances. Sounds straight forward but ask yourself honestly – do you take accountability for you actions, or do you find ways to rationalize why things didn’t work out? Do you own the numbers? Do you own the results – whatever they may be?

That’s it. If you want to advance your career in marketing and become a successful marketer and CMO, consider the above and how well you are matching up.

 

Do This 1 Thing To Increase New Product Development Success

There is a scene in the movie Fiddler on the Roof, when the Rabbi is asked who’s right about an argument between two villagers. One of the villagers states their case, and the Rabbi says “you’re right.” Then the other villager makes their point, and the Rabbi says “you’re right.” Finally a third villager says, “Rabbi they both can’t be right”, and the Rabbi responds, “you’re right too!”

Research for product requirements, is a lot like that, in that when you ask potential users what’s most important using say the typical 5 or 10 point Likert scale, all you get is a big glob of goo where everything is important, where your feature tracking software is overloaded with features, where everything seems well… right. You’re then left to pick a few to build and hope you’re right before you run out of money.

Using a Kano survey is one of the most powerful and reliable ways to help figure out product requirements and guide you on what to prioritize in your build; because no mater how much money you have, you still have to decide what to build first. A Kano survey will help you determine which requirements are essential, which are optional, and which would delight the customer, and how do you prioritize among customer requirements?

This questionnaire approach asks pairs of multiple-choice questions about potential product capabilities. Half of each pair of questions asks how you would feel if the product included a particular capability; the other half of each pair asks how you would feel if the capability was not provided.

For example, let’s say you run a restaurant and want to figure out if you need to serve your eggs hot (yea I know that sounds goofy, but it’s a good way to explain how a Kano survey works). So first you ask, “how would you feel if your eggs are served hot”; and you have five choices:

- I would be delighted to find it that way
- I expect it to be that way
- I’m neutral
- I would not like it that way but I can live with it that way
- It must not be that way

Then you ask how the customer would feel if that capability, requirement, feature, etc… is somehow limited or absent; in this case you ask “If the eggs are not served hot, how do you feel?” You give them the same 5 choices to pick from.

Another way to ask the questions is ask how the user would feel if there is a variety of cooking options for the eggs, say hard boiled, scrambled, fried, etc…, and then ask how the customer would feel if the options are limited, say only offering scrambled and fried. In both examples you give them the 5 choices previously mentioned.

Through a series of mathematical calculations you’re able to identify:

Must-Be features are items where customer satisfaction does not move above neutral, lesser or greater functionality does not influence customers, and lack of the feature quickly dissatisfies the customer. These features are expected to be present. e.g., good brakes or windshield wipers in a car. In other words, you’re toast if you don’t include them.

One-Dimensional features are items where customer satisfaction increases as the feature’s functionality increases, customer satisfaction falls in proportion to decreased product functionality, e.g., gas mileage—the higher the gas mileage, the happier the customer is. These are things you do, if your competition does.

Attractive/Excitement features are the items where the customer is satisfied when the feature is present, satisfaction is greater as functionality increases, and the customer is NOT dissatisfied when feature is less functional or not present. e.g., if it included a car button to open window, when pressed, lowers window all the way. These are the things you do to add excitement to your product which will differentiate you and normally give you higher margin advantage.

Excitement features are for the most part unforeseen by the company but may yield paramount satisfaction. They are also the hardest ones to prioritize including. Variety is nice, but you don’t have to be Baskin-Robbins and include every possible exciter. Having excitement attributes can only help you, so in some scenarios it is ok to not have them included. The Kano survey will help you figure out which ones to include, and which ones to leave for another day or revision.

So next time you want to figure out what your customers really want and value, try a Kano survey, and maybe you’ll be right too!

 

Startup Marketing Toolkit

“If you’re not growing you’re falling behind.” These are well-worn words for any business, but they have particular value to a startup business. And marketing is at the core of growth. So how do you drive growth when you are small, have little money, and may have a team with limited marketing knowledge? One way is for startups to have a tool box of proven marketing tools. But if you aren’t a marketer how do you know which tools work?

Look no farther. We here at Marcademy have created this list of 10 of our favorite marketing tools which are low cost, easy to implement and packed with power. We think these are great building blocks to deploy if you want to learn internet marketing / online marketing, and apply growth hacking to your business. Enjoy.

1. Paid for Performance Advertising with Google Adwords. Now you might be saying “If I had a marketing budget.” But did you know you could also deploy these on a Paid for Performance basis? So don’t dismiss this channel. There are plenty of agency’s out there who will put their money on the line to drive traffic and get paid for conversions be they leads or sales. Check out Trada, Integrate and ResponseMine to name a few.

2. Increase awareness via a PR Distribution site such as PR Web. PR didn’t go away, and links still count for something so don’t dismiss PR outright. Tell the press what you’re doing! When you launch, when you expand, when you hit user milestones, when you pivot completely – these are newsworthy events that the press should know about. Keep them informed. PR Web is a great low cost, easy to use tool to get the word out.

3. Blog to keep your site fresh and get SEO juice with WordPress. Search engines love freshness of sites, and nothing is as simple to help keep that “freshly baked bread” smell on your site than a blog. Plus it helps to show off your thought leadership. Hands down WordPress is the Industry Standard; nothing beats it. What you want is success, and no blogging platform has an ecosystem around it like WP. If there’s something you want your blog to be able to do, it’s very likely that someone will have already written a plugin for it.

4. Use a Social Media Publication Dashboard such as Hootsuite. With dozens of social channels to manage today, keeping up can be time consuming. Actually not anymore due to the growth of great, low cost easy to use social publication tools. Go to one tool and manage all your social publication and measurement. In our opinion, nothing beats Hootsuite for social media publication and dashboard.

5. Starter kit analytics with Google Analytics and CrazyEgg. Not much needs to be said about Google Analytics, you should be using this plus it is free. And adding CrazyEgg will get you easy to understand heat maps, confetti charts and more. Sure Google Analytics has that capability too, but candidly that part of Analytics is not as user friendly at CrazyEgg. Together these two tools will give you the basic data you need to consider what types of “content experiments” to perform A/B tests on.

6. SEO Insights with Moz (formerly SEOmoz). Moz is the industry standard for its SEO Toolbox pages including a Term Extractor, which shows the importance of words or phrases and what HTML components keywords show up in. It also has a tool to determine the relevance of a page based on sampling. Moztrust compares how trustworthy a website is compared to others. MozRank is an alternative to Google PageRank. Moz also has a tool for researching popular search trends and a community site called YOUmoz. There is also an SEO audit tool called SEO Toolbar. I’m tired writing all this, but as you see Moz has a lot of power.

7. Site AB Testing with Optimizely. Only by testing can you hope to improve things. And by testing we mean does version A of a page on your site convert better than version B? While Google Analytics comes with “experiments” for AB testing, nothing beats Optimizely. You can even play with the Optimizely tool by going to their site and simply putting in any URL, including competitors. And best of all you don’t need engineers to deploy it. How cool is that!

8. Landing Page creation and AB Testing with Unbounce. What is particularly cool about Unbounce is the ability to create fully functional Landing Pages on the fly without requiring engineers. Plus you can AB test those pages comparing conversion. So it’s a Landing Page tool and Optimization Tool in one. We however recommend you use both Optimizely and Unbounce since the overlap is limited between the two tools. Optimizely can be deployed on your entire site but does not enable you to create Landing Pages. Unbounce is tailored for Landing Pages only.

9. Email marketing via Mailchimp. Email is still the killer app of them all. As much as we hate it, we still use it. And marketers know this so they keep using it to keep existing customers informed or try to upsell leads. Therefore mailing lists are a powerful tool for marketers. In our opinion the easiest tool to get you started is Mailchimp. While other email tools may have more robust enterprise level functionality, the chimp comes with most things you’ll need. And it cost nothing at low volumes – perfect for a startup.

10. Customer Insight with QuestionPro. Ongoing customer insights is key in any business, and especially within a startup as you never know when you may have to pivot and to what? You need to get feedback early and often and we think QuestionPro is the easiest and best online survey tool out there. Way better than Zoomerang or SurveyMonkey. And it is very inexpensive to get started.

So that’s it. Ten very powerful, easy to use, and low cost tools that you can get started with today to grow your startup marketing. Good luck and we’d love to hear what you think.

Turbulence for the CMO


“Acquire Profitable Customers!”
I’m a marketer and I’m also an educator, and those few simple words are how I respond when a student asks me to summarize the marketing profession. But while the marketing function, especially online marketing and growth hacking, can be summarized in 3 words, the challenge is how do you execute on those words?

I guess a lot of CMO’s don’t do it well since the average tenure of a CMO is under 24 months, which is less than half that of a typical CEO.  A lot of talk is made about CEO tenure, but it seems the CMO is even more so on the hot seat. This new Accenture survey of over 400 senior marketers around the world most marketers provides great insight as to why, with a big theme mentioned they don’t have a marketing team of employees and partners who really know their stuff. Ergo why we created Marcademy.

We get it, you go to school for a career

All schools have good intentions and want you to be successful.  Unfortunately the world of marketing has changed so fast over the last decade and there is no way for traditional schools to keep up.  Enter Marcademy, a school created and run by successful marketers with some help from a top marketing recruiter.  We understand not just where marketing is today, but where it is going (for the next few years at least) and have tailored the experience around you and your success.  Since we have had success in the real world, we are comfortable putting our money where our mouth is.  Our job commitment is the first of its kind, we hope more schools are confident enough in what they are offering to follow suit.

But whether or not Marcademy is right for you, we want you to get the best possible advice on how to find a new job from our friends at MarketPro.

How to Prepare for a Job Interview

The most important thing to remember when preparing for an interview is:  The Company is NOT hiring you.  They are hiring what you can DO for them.  The second thing to remember is interview performance is not indicative of job performance, which means the best candidate does not get the job, the candidate who interviews the best does.   An interview is an opportunity and when opportunity meets preparation you get success.

The key to success in any interview is professional self-awareness. Read more.

Growth Hacking – Dry Testing / Ghetto Testing

In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner plays a farmer living in rural Iowa, who hears a voice while walking through his cornfield; “If you build it, he will come” and sees a vision of a baseball field.  Kevin’s character Ray Kinsella plows under his corn and builds the field.  We all know the story – in the end “he” comes, as do carloads of people.

Betting the family farm may work on the silver screen, but in the marketing world it’s a risky proposition as according to the Harvard Business Review, very few new launched products succeed despite tons of R&D and armies of smart people. Sometimes the issue is product-solution fit and sometimes it’s the marketing.

But marketing and product dev folks can improve their olds greatly with a simple hack known as Interactive Dry Testing or Ghetto Testing. It’s a market test to discover whether a product or service is worth pursuing.

It’s cheap. It can be done fast – like today if you want to. And it’s interactive – it’s done digitally on the Internet. If done properly, an online marketer or growth hacker can get a very good “read” on whether a product will or will not be profitable and how profitable (or non-profitable!) it might be.

Before explaining how to do this research, some ethical warnings. While this type of testing is perfectly legal, you should utilize it only when the special nature of the offer is made clear at some point in the promotion. It is OK to “test the waters” for interest in a new product, i.e., one that does not yet exist. However, consumers should not be misled and should be informed, for example, by stating something like this during the test process: “This new product is being planned; we will let you know if it will be created, and of course, if it is not, we will promptly credit your account by (date).”

The Federal Trade Commission is normally OK with tests like this, so long as four conditions are met.

- No representation is made that the product definitely will be produced.

- There must be adequate notice of the conditional nature of the offer.

- Those who order are promptly informed if it is not produced.

- There can be no substitution of another product.

Here’s the typical high level three-step testing approach using Google:

- Create a special landing pages simulating and describing the product or service, price, terms, etc…

- Set up a Google AdWords test for the potential new product. This will allow you to test cost, impressions, page ranking, clicks, click through rates… for various ads and keywords. If you have an established AdWords account, you likely won’t have any issues with Google with approving the ads.

- Create and link a research survey to the landing pages, where you ask questions to the consumers who were actively in the purchase process at that moment. This allows you to ask questions where recollection has the potential to be more accurate since it’s more recent; such as what other products did you look at and why are you currently doing this search. You can also invite a person into a live chat interview.

What is great about this versus surveying people about a proposed product or service, is that a questionnaire is still not a real sales situation, no matter how much care is taken in its construction. Any questionnaire makes the prospect into an expert rather than a potential buyer. Interactive Dry Testing / Ghetto Testing is real simulation of the selling situation. And avoid including any social links on the landing page – you’ll only be running this test for a short period (a few hours to a few days) and then shut it down.

If you try Ghetto Testing / Interactive Dry Testing before you commit to building a product, then when you do decide to built it and commit the company farm, you will greatly increase your chances that “they will come.”

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Begin the process by filling out our short Request Information form. Don't delay as Marcademy Fellows is limited to 24 students per session, and we make acceptance decisions on an ongoing basis, on whom to accept into the program. If you have a question but are not yet ready to apply, feel free to send an email to tim@marcademy.com