In the startup world, there’s a project management process called the Lean Methodology. In short, the Lean Methodology is a way of optimizing the people, resources, effort, and energy of your organization toward creating value for the customer. The way startups achieve that is through a cycle of build-measure-learn, a term coined by Eric Ries in his book, The Lean Startup.
I can speak for hours on the process, but here it is in a digestible format: the fastest-growing brands in the world get their product out to market fast, measure results, get feedback from customers, and learn from the insights, thereby creating a better product or idea. They test, learn and refine. Note how this is yet another flywheel approach startups love, seeing a trend here in how brands scale fast.
Most brands, when it comes to email and SMS, but limited to zero focus on learning or A/B testing. And, as you can see from above, if you’re not testing, you’re not learning. In some cases, if they actually do some A/B testing, the test isn’t very scientific or limited in scalability, which leads to empty conclusions.
Case-in-point: A/B testing the subject line of a single Memorial Day campaign doesn’t exactly help you increase open rates for a Black Friday campaign. They are two different times of year, different promotions, different audiences, and different strategies.
I have a great example of the power of testing. Our client, a multi-billion-dollar e-commerce brand, decided to start testing subject lines and template layouts to measure incrementality. Before we even analyzed the results, their brand saw a 30% lift in revenue simply because they implemented testing!
After one campaign, the revenue lift alone justified the “risk” of testing (why brands think testing is a risk is beyond me) and led to further ideas, insights, and inspiration. The best part: the culture of the company shifted to a testing culture instead of merely an order-taking one.
If brands don’t test how best to communicate with their customers, they don’t learn and refine the dialogue. The result is an underperforming channel and indifferent subscribers; that’s why brands fail at email & SMS.