Testing, Testing, 1,2,3

Having met a few businesses recently that are fascinated by the power of TV having seen brands grow their audience and web visitors once they have made the step onto the big screen.

The underlying issue that I have seen though is the movement from a small, well controlled test into a big, badly controlled test. There is a belief that entrepreneurs are gambling risk takes that mortgage everything on the basis of a opportunity – in my experience this could not be more from the truth.

Generally startups that are successful take calculated and measured risks on the basis of test results that are statistically accurate and well thought through.

Let me give you my experience, when we decided to test TV in 2008, we shot a spot (60 second) to explain the concept of a delivered diet. This probably cost us around £25,000 which at that time was a massive investment for Diet Chef. But compare that with the test budget that we used for the campaign (£10,000) this was still a test that would cost under £40,000 to embark on.

50% of the media budget didn’t work. So our total loss on that was £5,000, something that I would rather not do, but we could have been faced with 100% failure so we were generally encouraged to spend more on the channels that did work.

This is a classic split test, use our judgement to make some choices of channels that we think might work, split the budget, light touch paper and then measure and refine.

A number of new TV advertisers I know test with much bigger budgets, great if they can afford to at best to lose 50% and at worse 100% – think about this when you plan your entry in to the glamorous world of TV!

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