Marketers are under increasing pressure to justify every dollar spent by connecting the marketing investment to revenue generated. When it comes to advertising, most companies still find it difficult or impossible to make those justifications. That’s not to say that some marketers don’t continue to see their budget funded year after year without the requirement of proving ROI, but those days may be numbered.
Marketing budgets today require repeatable results – and repeatable results require sound methodology. The practice of AdScience® provides the framework within which marketing results can be delivered repeatedly in a proven, predictable fashion.
Technically speaking, AdScience is the “Intellectual and technological activity that organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the efficacy of advertising.” In other words, AdScience is what happens when you combine the discipline of Scientific Methodology with the practice of Advertising.
The Scientific Method
The Scientific Method is a body of techniques that have been practiced since the 17th century for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or setting the record straight. It involves six distinct activities. Establishing the Purpose is the first. Then comes Research, and a Hypothesis is formed based on the Research. An Experiment is developed to test the Hypothesis. Finally, an Analysis is made of the results, and a Conclusion compares the Hypothesis to the results.
So how does the Scientific Method apply to the practice of advertising?
Like the Scientific Method, Advertising Science starts with a Purpose. You could call it purpose-driven thinking. This requires taking initial ideas, goals, aspirations or intent and drilling down to the most basic level of need. Many advertising campaigns are designed to address surface-level initiatives that make it impossible to measure results. AdScience begins with linking every campaign to a solid, business-driving result that can be repeated over time. Doing so leads to predictable outcomes and projectable revenue.
Once we have a solid purpose, the AdScience method entails conducting Research that will form the basis of our solution design. The practice of AdScience dictates that solutions come from research and analysis – not half-baked ideas and assumptions. Research and data analysis enables us to identify consumer behaviors or industry gaps that lead to genuine creative inspiration and breakthrough communication design.
In AdScience, the Hypothesis is the data analysis that we do to uncover Insights. These Insights will be used to inform our solution, communication and resulting campaign design. Data-driven insights are used to help determine many things, such as message positioning, media selection, communication cadence and even response rates – which we then use to predict the outcome of our marketing campaigns.
Experiments are best described as procedures to test hypotheses. Advertising Science has experiments also – they’re called campaigns. AdScience creates strategic campaign designs that target a specific prospect segment. Campaign design has been called an art and a science in and of itself, but leveraging the rigor of Advertising Science creates campaigns that are grounded in data-driven insights and connected to a measureable outcome.
The practice of AdScience dictates strict control over variables. It requires a commitment to planning and the forethought necessary to construct marketing campaigns that can be tested and measured (because that which cannot be measured, cannot be managed). Scientific method entails data capture, measurement and reporting of experimental outcomes to either validate or disprove a hypothesis. AdScience takes the same path – capturing data at all points in the engagement process and measuring those actions and outcomes against projected goals for the campaign.
And like the Scientific Method, Advertising Science results in a Conclusion – a black and white scorecard of win or loss. Properly designed, AdScience campaigns create specific metrics against specific business goals that are measurable, meaningful and repeatable.
The practice of AdScience takes the guesswork out of marketing campaign optimization due to the transparency of cause-and-effect evident in the campaign design, execution and measurement. Underperforming elements are easy to identify and address. Synergies among various media sources are revealed and enhanced to maximize impact and results. The Conclusion is a specific result, be it ROI, total leads generated, total memberships sold or any number of other revenue-driving metrics that enable our clients to stand tall in the board room with results to back up their marketing investment.
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