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PLAN BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS

BY STUART HUKE, MARKETING DIRECTOR

After my recent Emergenetics profile it suddenly became clear why I am the way I am. I always thought I was a little bit crazy as I love the BIG idea and coming up with imaginative solutions, but then I slip into the rational argument that requires logic and evidence. There is a war in my head that usually comes to the right answer, but it’s always a tiring battle between moving forward with a new concept as long as I can prove it can work!

But now I can rest in peace as Emergenetics gave me the reason why: half my brain is conceptual whilst the other half is analytical. Let me quote you what this means in practice;

“He excels at abstract thinking and sees the forest instead of the individual trees…..but this can leave him in something of a dilemma since his analytical thinking, which is logical, analytical and clear, is at odds with his conceptual thinking, which is imaginary, visionary and intuitive. At times it can be hard to balance both types of thinking simultaneously…..but each preference can help balance the other – his analytical brain tethers the conceptual brain in rationality…..conceptually, he does not take an idea too far without ensuring that it’s rational.”

When I first read this it was like a telescope into my mind and gave me, for the first time, a reason for why I think the way I do. I was built this way! It’s in my DNA. Once you know that, it provides you with an even greater level of clarity about who you are.

But that got me thinking even more. What are the rest of my team like? As it turned out, many of my team also have this similar thinking profile - “a powerful combination because the analytical part of their brains can translate to the outside world what the conceptual part of their brains are thinking”. And then it clicked. That’s why, as a group of individuals, we are so good at what we do. We can take an idea but ensure it has everything in place to deliver results for our clients.

To give you an insight into the way we plan our activity, here are our top tips!

Be clear in your objective

What are you trying to learn? What answers do you need to move forward? Find the one thing that will take you the furthest and make this your priority and let others follow. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was the Shard!

Make a priority list

Naturally the world is greedy, everyone wants answers immediately. But you need to be realistic, you can’t test everything in one go as you will not know what variable has affected the other. If you want to find out more than one thing, then be clear in your priorities, you can’t learn everything in one go.

Build a clear plan to test multiple variables

Structure your campaigns to test each variable or combination of variables one at a time. Don’t muddy the waters by testing too many things. If you’re testing data or media title timing and creative all at the same time then you won’t learn a thing – go back to point one! Make sure all stakeholders know the plan, buy into it and can plan accordingly.

Ensure you can read the results

No point spending lots on money of new creative or launching a new product and then test a campaign that is not statistically valid. It will waste your money and will not provide you with consistency, no matter how good or bad the performance is. Statistics can be dry but they will save you money!

Be prepared to fail and then go again

Don’t go into a testing plan thinking you will get it right first time. Yes, try and ensure you get it right, but it very rarely happens so make sure you embrace this fact and more importantly, make sure your bosses understand this. You do not learn unless some things don’t work.

Trust your partners

If you have gone through a tender process to pick a partner, then trust them and their expertise. Too many times I have seen businesses ignore their partners and wonder why campaigns fail. They run campaigns for a living, day after day. So trust their knowledge.

Be prepared to be flexible and embrace change

For me this is the most important tip. Is life ever consistent? I know mine isn’t, so don’t build a rigid plan. If the market changes or your pre-conceptions of what should work hasn’t, then have the courage to change the plan! Be prepared to make changes on the fly to turn results around or take the testing plan in a different direction.

Follow these tips, embrace your conceptual and analytical brain and then enjoy the ride...