Advertising Campaign



Chapter Fifteen:

Test Campaigns

Almost any questions can be answered, cheaply, quickly and finally, by a test campaign. And that's the way to answer them - not by arguments around a table. Go to the court of last resort - the buyers of your product.
     On every new project there comes up the question of selling 
that article profitably.  You and your friends may like it, but the 
majority may not.  Some rival product may be better liked or 
cheaper.  It may be strongly entrenched.  The users won away from 
it may cost too much to get.
     People may buy and not repeat.  The article may last too 
long.  It may appeal to a small percentage, so most of your 
advertising goes to waste.
     There are many surprises in advertising.  A project you will 
laugh at may make a great success.  A project you are sure of may 
fall down.  All because tastes differ so.  None of us know enough 
people's desires to get an average viewpoint.
     In the old days, advertisers ventured on their own opinions.  
The few guessed right, the many wrong.  Those were the times of 
advertising disaster.  Even those who succeeded came close to the 
verge before the time is turned.  They did not know t heir cost per 
customer or their sale per customer.  The cost of selling might 
take a long to come back.  Often it never came back.
     Now we let the thousands decide what the millions will do.  We 
make a small venture, and watch cost and result.  When we learn 
what a thousand customers cost, we know almost exactly what a 
million will cost.  When we learn what they buy, we know
 what a million will buy.
     We establish averages on a small scale, and those averages 
always hold.  We know our cost, we know our sale, we know our 
profit and loss.  We know how soon our cost comes back.  Before we 
spread out, we prove our undertaking absolutely safe.  So
 there are today no advertising disasters piloted by men who know.
     Perhaps we try out our project in four or five towns.  We may 
use a sample offer or a free package to get users started quickly.  
Then we wait and see if users buy those samples.  If they do, will 
they continue? How much will they buy? How long does it take for 
the profit to return our cost of selling?
     A test like this may cost $3,000 to $5,000.  It is not all 
lost, even when the product proves unpopular.  Some sales are 
made.  Nearly every test will in time bring back the entire cost.
     Sometimes we find that the cost of the advertising comes back 
before the bills are due.  That means that the product can be 
advertised without investment.  Many a great advertiser has been 
built up without any cost whatever beyond immediate receipts.  
That is an ideal situation.
     On another product it may take three months to bring back the 
cost with a profit.   But one is sure of his profit in that time.  
When he spreads out he must finance accordingly.
     Think what this means.  A man has what he considers an 
advertising possibility.  But national advertising looks so big and 
expensive that he dare not undertake it.
     Now he presents it in a few average towns, at a very moderate 
cost.  With almost no risk whatever.  From the few thousands he 
learns what the millions will do.  Then he acts accordingly.  If he 
then branches he knows to a certainty just what his
results will be.
     He is playing on the safe side of a hundred to one shot.  If 
the article is successful, it may make him millions.  If he is 
mistaken about it, the loss is a trifle.
     These are facts we desire to emphasize and spread.  All our 
largest accounts are now built in this way, from very small 
beginnings.  When business men realize that this can be done, 
hundreds of others will do it.  For countless fortune-earners now 
lie dormant.
     The largest advertiser in the world makes a business of 
starting such projects.  One by one he finds out winners.  Now he 
has twenty-six, and together they earn many millions yearly.
     These test campaigns have other purposes.  They answer 
countless questions which arise in business.

     A large food advertiser felt that his product would be more 
popular in another form.  He and all his advisers were certain 
about it.   They were willing to act on this supposition without 
consulting the consumers, but wiser advice prevailed.
     He inserted an ad in a few towns with a coupon, good at any 
store for a package of the new-style product.  Then he wrote to the 
users about it.  They were almost unanimous in their disapproval.
     Later the same product was suggested in still another form.  
The previous verdict made the change look dubious.  The advertiser 
hardly thought a test to be worth while.  But he submitted the 
question to a few thousand women in a similar way and 91 per cent 
voted for it.  Now he has a unique product which promises to 
largely increase his sales.
     These tests cost about $1,000 each.  The first one saved him a 
very costly mistake.  The second will probably bring him large 
     Then we try test campaigns to try out new methods on 
advertising already successful.  Thus we constantly seek for better 
methods, without interrupting plans already proved out.
     In five years for one food advertiser we tried out over fifty 
separate plans.  Every little while we found an improvement, so the 
results of our advertising constantly grew.  At the end of five 
years we found the best plan of all.  It reduced our cost of 
selling by 75 per cent.  That is, it was four times more effective 
than the best plan used before.
     That is what mail order advertisers do - try out plan after 
plan to constantly reduce the cost.  Why should any general 
advertiser be less business-like and careful?
     Another service of the test campaign is this:
     An advertiser is doing mediocre advertising.  A skilled 
advertising agent feels that he can greatly increase results.  The 
advertiser is doubtful.  He is doing fairly well.  He has alliances 
which he hesitates to break.  So he is inclined to let
 well enough alone.
     Now the question can be submitted to the verdict of a test.  
The new agent may take a few towns, without interfering with the 
general campaign.  Then compare his results with the general 
results and prove his greater skill.
     Plausible arguments are easy in this line.  One man after 
another comes to an advertiser to claim superior knowledge or 
ability.  It is hard to decide, and decisions may be wrong.
     Now actual figures gained at a small cost can settle the 
question definitely.  The advertiser makes no commitment.  It is 
like saying to a salesman, "Go out for a week and prove."  A large 
percentage of all the advertising done would change hand s if this 
method were applied.
     Again we come back to scientific advertising.  Suppose a 
chemist would say in an arbitrary way that this compound was best, 
or that better.  You would little respect his opinion.  He makes 
tests - sometimes hundreds of tests -  to actually know which is 
best.  He will never state a supposition before he has proved it.  
How long before advertisers in general will apply that exactness to 
Return to Book Intro and Chapter Index:  Scientific Advertising
Continue to the next Chapter: Advertising Dealers


Get our Internet Home Business Newsletter with Bonus eBook.


Internet Home Business

Your eBook "7 Step Strategy - Internet Home Business Success" is excellent! The resources are really helpful and I like your clear, step-by-step plan. Thanks for writing it! It's exactly what I need.
Barbara Jean Olson