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A Critical Eye and These 4 Steps Will Help You Evaluate Emerging Technologies Before Overcommitting

We’ve all been to conferences or meetings where we are told that this is “the year of digital,” “the year of mobile,” “the year of augmented reality” and a host of other emerging technologies. These technologies are positively changing the way we do everything, but they also introduce the risk of misadventure as we blindly chase after these new “shiny objects.” It then becomes our job to figure out how it fits into your existing business plan and how it will actually make an impact and drive results.

Case in point: “Everyone” is on SnapChat (or at least talking about it). But before you start buying more social media ad units, evaluate usage among your core audience and how you would reach them. And then there’s OTT (over-the-top) advertising, a channel that’s gaining speed with increased consumption of TV on devices other than TVs. This recent blog post outlines some critical factors, but how do you know if OTT is right for you and, if so, what portion of your DRTV budget should you carve out?

With so many new communication channels, there are four questions I’ve found it wise to consider when evaluating if a new technology or channel is truly viable.

4 Questions every direct response marketer should ask:

MARKETER BEWARE: chasing shiny objects may be hazardous to the ROI and health of your response marketing campaigns.

1. Does this benefit the customer? The consumer is most important, so evaluate if there is really a benefit and define what that benefit is.

  • Is this fulfilling a customer need?
  • Has the customer asked for it?
  • Has any research been done?
  • Is there a way to benchmark against other industry initiatives?

2. Who is driving the initiative? Is this a C-level initiative that “must be done” or something the marketing team believes has value? Both are reasonable, but make sure that you and your team understand where the directive is coming from and define KPIs in order to prove success or failure.

3. How can we test into it? There is a reason why the baseline marketing plan exists, which is a proven success. But don’t let proven success fool you into thinking that the “same old” will always work. Radical change doesn’t have to happen all at once. How can you slowly test a new technology or channel in a cost-effective manner? If you can have positive results with little upfront cost, risk, or disruption, you and your team will look like rock stars and you’ll know that there is still growth opportunity once you expand from testing to broader scale implementation.

4. Will it pass the litmus test for your company? All companies are unique. The reason to test (or not test) a new technology or marketing initiative has to fit your business model and expectations. Spend some time thinking critically and defining this because it will quickly get you out of “shiny object” territory.

A final thought.

With the world changing as quickly as it does, there is no definitive way to know what will work for your business. This is especially true for direct response advertisers trying to reach specific targets. Take the time to research and evaluate new technologies and media, but don’t be afraid to toss it if you find it won’t work for your business model or would be wrong on a small scale. I personally like to learn the hard way.

Thinking of testing a new channel or technology in your direct response marketing mix? DMW Direct is here to help ensure that your evaluation meets your strategic goals and fits into your tactical approach. Let us know how we can help.