It’s likely been hammered into your head that you need analytics in order to test your marketing success. Is there something wrong with this statement? No — statistics, facts, graphs and figures can give anyone a lot of information on any subject. In this case, analytics can give marketers statistical data on their marketing efforts.


But are statistics all that you need to succeed in marketing? Again, no — marketing also has an emotional, illogical element to it in that statistics can’t give you human reactions. Can a chart tell you whether people liked a tweet or not? No. Can it accurately explain why? Not likely.


Thus, non-analytic testing strategies are a good idea. These give you a more emotional, long-form answer to questions like “what does my audience think?” or “how do others perceive my marketing content?”



1. Test Groups


You don’t need to be a big wig business owner to put your own test group together. All a marketer needs is access to five or 10 different people, writing materials, their marketing materials and a private room.


Any sort of visual content can benefit from a test group study, from a visual commercial to marketing images. The process is simple — the strangers are told to interact with the media, then they’re asked specific questions about it. What did you like about this ad? Did you find the visual style appealing? Do you like how modern trends were incorporated into the advertisement?


Some marketers consider this style of information gathering to be outdated, but this sort of study can give them actual access to real opinions on a product outside of numbers that give only factual data.


2. A/B Testing


A/B testing isn’t as up front with asking for opinions when it comes to discovering how people think about marketing data. It’s psychological and subliminal, which many marketers believe is the best way to receive unbiased opinion data.


There are a myriad of ways and methods you can use A/B testing, with a few shown here by Kissmetrics, but essentially any marketing can be voted on using this method. While it may not give the same long form, opinionated answers that a test group study can, A/B testing is a great, preliminary way to decide on whether or not your marketing idea is a dud.


3. Written Surveys


Like the test group option, written surveys can give marketers a better, more personal glimpse into the mind of a consumer. This already exists in one way, a la surveys companies send out via email that are used for consumer satisfaction analytics, but the purpose behind this particular survey method is different.


These surveys are best performed in person. They require one person (or multiple people) to be questioned about a product, image, video or other visual marketing aid. Instead of discussing their views in an open forum, they’re instead instructed to write them down.


This method allows consumers to be more free with their answers. If they really hate something, they may not feel as open to communicate their feelings in a test study room where they aren’t anonymous and can be judged or argued with. Anonymous, written surveys allow consumers to get out their feelings while not facing any repercussions.


 4. In-House Analysis


There’s no better test subject than a group of business professionals. Some may argue business employees are too close to the marketing to be unbiased, but the truth may be the opposite — asking marketers or employees about their own business can actually lead to the most honest answers.


In general, marketing meetings should have an open flow of communication. Other employees should be asked about business marketing and how it feels vs. the corporate climate of the business — is the content voice true to the brand? Is there a way that the marketing or business could be improved so that the brand voice and business tone can match?


5. A/B-Survey Blend


Finally, combining the ideas of both A/B and survey testing can bring fruitful results. Imagine you’re going to the optometrist for a vision exam. Those who need glasses are often asked to put their head against a machine while the doctor asks them “do you prefer slide one or slide two?” The patient then has to choose which slide gives them the best vision in order to deduce their prescription.


A/B survey testing works similarly in that marketers are playing a “this or that” game to discover the best marketing solution. Neil Patel shares a few workable A/B testing ideas on his blog, one of which illustrates this perfectly. Number two on the list showcases three ads that cover three topics: price, selection and purpose. Using A/B survey methods, marketers can determine which of the three ads works best and why based on subject response.


Looking for more ideas? If you find that your marketing strategies aren’t very effective, it may be time to take your branding in a different direction. Learn what to do when you want to rebrand your business.