Never stop learning – a real mantra for the agile, digital world marketers find themselves in today. OLIVER Digital Strategist, Sarah Barrett shares her tips for optimising and learning from campaigns.


“I maintained my edge by always being a student; you will always have something new to learn.” – Jackie Joyner Kersee

We’ve moved on from measuring success purely in sales figures and share prices – now it’s about ‘optimising’ everything we possibly can – constantly reviewing and tweaking to make campaign activity work harder.

There’s so much data flying around about which search terms work best and what’s the best time of day to tweet, it’s easy to get lost and forget why we wanted to know in the first place.

There’s also little value in trying to de-risk an entire strategy in the quest for more data – some pragmatism and a qualified punt is always required.

We should always keep in mind the business objective. What are we actually trying to achieve? If we don’t know, we shouldn’t be doing anything else until we find out.

It’s usually a variation on the theme of selling more, to more people, more often and at a cheaper CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), but the proliferation of choice and channels means understanding the purchase process is more complex than ever.

It’s helpful to look at any patterns within analytics which might inform our approach – this could identify seasonality or other purchase triggers. If there’s a gaping hole in our understanding, it’s a good time to consider whether research might help fill it; whilst never a cheap option, the insights provided will inform the strategy.

Without identifying the right audience, it doesn’t matter how great the USP or how compelling the creative, those who might be interested aren’t even seeing it.

Next is testing which message resonates best. A/B testing in PPC (Pay Per Click) is a great, low-cost way to get immediate learnings. Online display is an option for testing creative treatments in almost real-time, with minimal wastage. Print with different phone numbers or vanity URLs also track response fairly immediately.

Keeping our test and learn objectives rooted in the business objective retains the focus for marketing effort and builds solid learnings on which to base next year’s plans.

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