Ink Blots, Fighter Jets, and CPGs

At Haden Interactive. we strive to work with our clients as strategic partners, meshing your expertise on your target market with our knowledge of online marketing, inbound marketing, and SEO — plus plenty of data — to come up with the perfect strategy for your company.

Sometimes this means it’s all about the hypothesis.

A hypothesis is a statement that might be true, based on the available information. You formulate a good hypothesis, test it, and see if it really is true before you invest heavily in action based on that hypothesis. When you have lots of information to work with and you’ve done plenty of testing in the past, you’ve got yourself a theory, not a hypothesis. At the point at which you have enough information that everyone agrees, you’ve got yourself a fact. For example, it’s a fact that blogging is beneficial for most businesses. It’s a fact that links to your website are an important part of Google’s ranking of your website. It’s a fact that managed websites do better than websites that are ignored.

What about the cases where we don’t have that much evidence? Then we have to start with a hypothesis and see whether it’s supported by testing before we put much investment into it. Here are a couple of examples:

  • We’re working right now on a beautiful new website for a financial services company. The head of the company was a fighter jet pilot. To him, fighter jets symbolize safety, as in safely guarding your wealth. He’s thinking that fighter jets can be a visual symbol of a safe investment. We’re not at all sure that fighter jets symbolize safety to most people. We’re concerned that they might symbolize danger, death, and destruction. How can we test this? We don’t want to test it by designing a website full of fighter jets and finding out that nobody clicks through. Instead, we need to show these images to a number of people in his target audience and find out what associations they have with the images. Once we’re sure, we can choose how boldly to use them as design elements.
  • We’re working with Selling to the Masses, a company that incubates emerging CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies. People in that field use the term “CPG” a lot, and we see some searches using that term showing up in their analytics. Overall, searches for CPG are few, decreasing, and usually have to do with genetics (cytosine phosphodiester guanine) rather than products. Should we gamble heavily on CPG or should we go with related terms that have much higher search volume, such as “manufacturing”? The more closely targeted term could give us the smaller but better targeted traffic that is most likely to need the services Selling to the Masses has to offer. The larger volume term could bring us far greater visibility. In this case, it makes sense for us to hedge our bets. We should use CPG, the insider term, and we should also use the higher volume terms enough to disambiguate our content for Google and bring additional searchers to the website.

It’s a lot like inkblots, really. We have to use the available data — your knowledge of your customers and our information about online behavior — to make a good hypothesis about what a design element, keyword, or piece of content will mean to your particular audience.

Then — and this is important — we test that hypothesis. Once we know what works, we put more investment into what works and less into what doesn’t work as well.

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