Marketing experimentation is a research method which can be defined as "the act of conducting such an investigation or test". It is testing a market that is segmented to discover new opportunities for organisations. By controlling conditions in an experiment, organisations will record and make decisions based on consumer behaviour. Marketing experimentation is commonly used to find the best method for maximizing revenues through the acquisition of new customers. For example; two groups of customers are exposed to different advertising (test). How did consumers react to advertising compared to the other group? (measurable). Did the advertising increase sales for each group? (result).
There are three characteristics which are the make-up of a market experimentation:
- Experimental subjects - Humans are usually participants in experiments. Subjects are divided into two or more groups and can be referred to as focus groups. Subjects can be made up of a particular age group (demographical), from a particular area (geographical), or culture (ethnographic).
- Conditions - Known as the independent variable where, conditions are tightly controlled and manipulated by the tester.
- Effects - Are the results of the test known as the dependent variable. Results are measured and cannot be changed. If the tester wants to see different results they would have to change the conditions of the independent variable to measure the effects.
To gain an accurate result from experiments, the experimenter must consider outside factors that could effect the dependent variable. Continuing from the advertising example above; did sales increase because of a festive seasons at that particular time.
In marketing email marketing is popular it is more targeted and there are many testable features such as font, colour and pictures. By tailoring emails it gives the experimenter control over conditions. For example; promoting discounts to experimental subjects via email.
It is here the experimenter has control and sets conditions by sending one tailored email to one age group (subject A). The experimenter will send another tailored email to an older age group (subject B) offering the same promotion with a different presentation. The experiment so far is exposing group A and B to different advertising messages.
There are many measurable outcomes, a few are as follows:
- How much time is spent on the site from the URL link in an email
- Better measurement in purchase process than other mediums - Subject A and B using promotion codes from the email
- Users unsubscribing
Comparing the effects the experiment had on subject A and subject B will give the organisation more of an understanding of how these subjects have reacted when they received the email (if there was one) and their purchasing behaviour. The experimenter may wish to change the conditions of the test to measure the different outcomes.
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