The Original Ad Men Got It Right

After 90 years, we can still learn from Claude Hopkins.

Read MoreIt’s actually been over ninety years since Claude Hopkins, perhaps the first real ad man, wrote his book Scientific Advertising (1923) about ad testing and measurement. Hopkins believed advertising existed only to sell something and should be measured and justified by the results it produced.

To track the results of his advertising, he used key-coded coupons and then tested headlines, offers and other value propositions against one another. He used the analysis of this constant testing to improve his ad results, driving responses and the cost effectiveness of his clients' advertising spend.

As we close in on 2016, that approach is certainly very relevant today. We should all learn from history and the origins of advertising and apply them more to our marketing efforts.

The really great news is marketing technology now allows us to test almost anything fairly quickly, efficiently and affordably. The A/B testing, or split testing, concept that Hopkins pioneered is even more applicable today and allows us all to test single variables across a variety of platforms. We can test quickly. We can learn. We can optimize and we can track conversions on robust marketing dashboards.

Not only that A/B testing takes the creative guesswork out the equation. There are numerous examples of testing where marketers were wrong about their creative assumptions. Great creative work is still paramount in terms of building a brand (that’s a topic for another day), but we simply no longer have to guess or rely 100 percent on intuition. We can test; we can compare the Champion vs. a Challenger and repeat the process to achieve maximum return and conversions.

To be most effective, A/B testing is about testing only one element at a time so marketers can maintain control over the results and draw firm conclusions. Elements to test can include:

  • Headlines
  • Copy
  • Visuals
  • Call-To-Action (Buy now? Purchase? Add to Cart?)

Marketing tools we should be testing include (but not limited to):

  • Websites
  • Social Media
  • Email
  • Landing Pages
  • Digital Ads
  • Mobile Apps

Finally, the practice of A/B testing works. According to MarketingSherpa, A/B testing can raise conversion rates by 48% or more. It’s not about history. It’s not about technology enablement. It’s about being smart and letting consumers decide how they choose to react to our marketing efforts. That’s a timeless marketing concept. Thank you, Claude Hopkins, for ushering in this “new era” of optimization over ninety years ago!
-PB

At Muller Bressler Brown, we often advise our clients to explore A/B testing. This gives our clients visibility into how to maximize their marketing efforts. And it gives us the opportunity to exercise our creative talents to find new ways to increase revenue and ROI for our clients. Learn more about our agency’s capabilities, here.

GOOD Day 2015

MBBers do some GOOD

Read MoreThe "Gathering Of Official Do-Gooders" is a volunteer committee started by the employees of mbb+. This dedicated committee ideates, plans and coordinates a "day of giving back" for the entire agency. Each year this group, always different from the previous year, finds productive ways to give back to our community: We've sorted food for Harvester's, adopted a family for Christmas, threw a Halloween Party for Kids TLC, filled bins for the "Giving the Basics Drive" ... whether big or small, every opportunity to give back impacts someone and we walk away already talking about what we can do next time.

This year, we took a day to "Glean" apples for After The Harvest. They help Shawnee Community Services provide free food to 400+ households in the KC metro area.

What Google Fiber Means For Marketers

Google Fiber is changing the advertising landscape in Kansas City.

Read MoreMove over, standard cable providers. There’s a new player in town and they’re not sticking to the antiquated rules of ad buying set forth by cable companies a half a century ago. Google has entered the TV marketplace and they’ve approached this space through a digital lens, shaking up the status quo.

Advertisers no longer pay a cost per spot for targeting based on pre-set geographic zones on each network. Instead programmatic digital is served dynamically to each individual TV. Google’s TV ads are bought on a CPM basis and creative is delivered based on behavior/viewing habits on that particular TV (think: Man Cave vs. Kid’s Room).

It’s no problem if your creative message changes often. If a viewer DVRs a show on Thursday night and sits down on Sunday to watch it - and your spot has changed in that time frame - your most up-to-date message will be served during DVR viewing. If a viewer fast-forwards through your commercial, it won’t count as an impression and therefore you won’t be charged.

Google Fiber now has over 40K HH TV subscribers in the Kansas City DMA and they’re adding about a thousand more every week. It’s estimated Google will have over 50% TV market penetration in KC in the next 3-4 years. Kansas City is the first and only market for Google to run local TV spots. MBB+ has our first campaign launching this week and our media team is excited to say the least.

Even if your key audience is located outside of the Kansas City test market, Google is expanding Fiber across the country. This new paradigm may not be appropriate for your business today but the line between digital video and ‘traditional’ TV is blurring. We’re moving toward a world in which we are able to efficiently and effectively target key audiences across multiple platforms based on their behaviors and interests. It’s about time.

Many in the advertising industry are asking:

  • Why are television ratings declining?
  • Why hasn’t the currency in TV measurement (a.k.a. Nielsen) made more progress on a ratings system that better addresses the fragmented media landscape?
  • Why is broadband speed within the U.S. so much slower and more expensive when compared to most other countries in the world?
  • Will Time Warner merge with Charter and, if so, will that benefit advertisers and consumers or will it become yet another example of corporations being given too much power to create monopolies?

But, do these questions even really matter as much as we thought given the emergence of Google Fiber? Maybe not.

Marketing to the Modern Family

Learn how to target your audience accurately with persona based segmentation.

Read MoreRichard Cherra and Bob Waddell discussed the topic of generational marketing and consumer segmentation. From Baby Boomers to Digital Natives, they explored whether generational divides actually exist for consumers or if they are merely perceptions based on what we think we know. In addition, they showed how to better segment your audiences by creating personas that can be used to better craft future healthcare marketing plans.

2015 Office Construction Is Complete!

Our wiffle ball field has some new obstacles.

Read MoreAlthough we knew this day would come, it has been hard to watch our indoor Playground slowly disappear over the last few months. But, for all the right reasons!

Our “expansion” began near the start of 2015 and as you can see in the before and after images, it was quite the overhaul for our space. We upgraded our “living room” (no more projecting on the wall), finally found a way to hide our storage and added 12 new desks.

Although wiffle ball will be more challenging, on the plus side, we have a lot more outfielders!