Marketers Need More Options Than ‘A’ and ‘B’


I was just reading on Seth Godin’s blog this short post on ‘Degrees of freedom‘. The line that caught me was this idea that marketing has more freedom than any other function within an organization. We are successful only when we understand and embrace this to have an impact. The ‘options’ for marketers, as Seth states, should never be constricted to just A and B. But that is so often what we do. A/B test anyone?

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What Comes After B?

You are building a campaign and integrate an A/B testing component. You hit ‘go’, look at the results and pick the frontrunner. Is that what you go with or do you decide to test B against C. Seth’s right – the options for marketers are endless. Yet, we don’t consider it that way. We test one something against another and pick the best option so we can ship it. We dont see an option C since that is not what we are trained to do. It’s A or it’s B.

Set aside the testing piece for a moment and take into context the different ways this may be applied. You could send an email or send direct mail. There’s your A/B. But you could also send InMail or targeted display ads or run a call campaign. Again, it’s A or it’s B. When we go beyond that, it gets complex, the conversation is harder to understand and the strategy is wavy at times.

Embrace the Freedom

I currently employ an 80:20 rule when it comes to budget spend. 80% is spent on tried and true campaigns and 20% is free to be used on whatever we want to test out in that time period. As a marketer, you are never going to be limited by your options, your freedom to think of things differently and go out on a limb. You are going to be limited by the restrictions you place on yourself to stick to A/B methodology. Dare to ask what the impact of C may be or D or E or even Y?

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