As the tenet goes good planning prevents poor performance. It’s proven that it is better to take time to consider priorities and resource requirements before getting into the detail of day-to-day campaign delivery and management. However not everyone agrees and thinks that maximum flexibility in a very fluid market should outweigh the need for detailed planning. Nonetheless, good planning requires understanding both of what has worked and what hasn’t worked before. This means that any future plans should minimise wastage and maximise focus on the best integrated plan to meet objectives.
Previous campaigns should point to whether your target audience and personas are correct and if your understanding of their pain points, needs, and preferences have been validated. You will have tested content, media preferences and monitored levels of engagement. Metrics and analytics, together with feedback from the sales team, would have helped you to refine your campaign to improve outcomes even further.
So, if you haven’t got the benefit of hindsight and are trying to plan for market expansion or launch a new value proposition what should the approach be? There is still the same requirement to effectively manage the budget, to be focusing only on what works and the best source of ROI. Some people launch straight in, keep the same approach, and hope for the best. However, there is an alternative to improve your outcomes before committing all the budget, by conducting a validation study to test your audience, proposition, and messaging. This approach will not only help refine the plan but could give some initial opportunities too.
A market validation study involves profiling a limited number of prospects to understand the same aspects of a campaign that you would learn from hindsight, i.e. target audience, personas, messaging etc without having to adjust a campaign once it has launched and waste time, effort, and budget to achieve your objectives. At a fixed investment it could save a lot of money in the long term. This approach can be used to confirm an opportunity or give insights as to whether it really exists, especially where there is a strong incumbent competitor, or the proposition is not relevant for that market.