Data 51


The Test-Driven Approach to Marketing Automation

How dashboards, control groups and TestLab help you keep on top of performance


Marketing automation is all about speed and efficiency – but you shouldn’t lose sight of performance when you have your foot on the accelerator. Often, marketing teams rush onto the next campaign without giving much thought to measuring or analysing the performance or ROI of the last one. That’s a recipe for ineffective campaigns, scattershot targeting, and a lack of deep understanding of your strategy.

How do you gather those crucial insights without slowing your campaigning to a crawl? Datamine uses a multi-tiered approach that emphasises testing, measuring, and adapting at speed. We use a mix of performance reporting dashboards, control groups, and the TestLab test & learn approach to keep a close eye on your results and keep you moving.

Here’s how it works:


Graph 5Reporting dashboards: continuous measurement and alignment

Performance reporting dashboards deliver a high-level view of campaign performance. Accessible through your automation platform or in a specialist reporting solution such as PowerBI, dashboards can give you a quick, digestible view of recent campaign activity.

Set your dashboard to show stats that align with your campaign KPIs and OKRs – these could include clicks, views, sign-ups, and conversions. With this information, you get a high-level view of campaign results as they happen. You’ll see the impact of a campaign and spot any anomalies – a sudden drop-off in click-throughs could mean your campaign isn’t connecting with the right people, while a jump in sales shows you’re doing something right.

Reporting dashboards don’t offer deep analytics (read about the difference here), but they are a great way to keep tabs on your campaign in real time. Continual monitoring gives you an overarching view of activity as it happens, helping you understand how various campaign elements perform - and identify quickly when things break. When you align stats with your wider goals, you can keep work moving in the right direction.



Analysismeasurement control groups: deep insights and fine details

Measurement control groups let you assess the performance of activity at an overall programme or individual campaign level. Control groups work in various ways.

Global control groups measure performance at the program level, helping you understand how your marketing activity performs over time. You get insight into the benefit of a campaign vs doing nothing – are you gaining new customers or selling more product, or is performance static despite your campaign work? This can also give you a usable figure to prove the value of your direct marketing.

Local/micro control groups drill down into your campaign results to measure the impact on smaller audience segments or individual pieces of content. This data can indicate how your content works – is it resonating with the right target? Are you getting better results from a specific segment, or are they similar across audience groups?

A/B testing lets you get even more specific by evaluating the performance of individual pieces of content and immediately using those results for further targeting. The process involves splitting an audience into groups that receive different pieces of creative, and results are tracked for a set period. Then, the best-performing version is used to target the remaining group. It’s a simple but effective way to trial different approaches with your target audience.



Implementationtestlab: an agile assessment framework

TestLab is less a tool and more a mindset. The process involves rapid testing, analysis and assessment of ideas on a small scale, resulting in faster – and more effective – implementation. Instead of spending significant time and money on unproven concepts, you run ideas manually through the TestLab process, analyse them, and rate them against a traffic light system. It’s an agile tool that lets businesses test-drive different approaches and make quick, data-driven decisions.

Ideally, TestLab runs continually alongside normal business activities, acting as a proving ground for hypotheses large and small. However, using the approach in that way requires focus, buy-in from leadership and a commitment to testing and learning.

We find the TestLab mindset particularly valuable for testing the ‘sacred cows’ of marketing. These are processes and methods used because ‘they’ve always been done that way,’ rather than proven to be effective. Identifying and testing these assumptions can be a powerful way to move the needle toward change in your business. If a specific process proves itself in TestLab, you use it because it works.



Graph 7testlab in action

TestLab isn’t limited to campaign concepts – it can test almost any marketing automation hypothesis as long as you can manage the details and analyse the results.

Here’s what we mean:

Testing a new data source

Integrating a new database with your existing system can be complicated – and won’t always deliver the results you’re looking for. With TestLab, you can transfer smaller datasets manually to assess whether having that data available would be worth the effort. Successful test results can then support a business case for your new data strategy.

Email optimisation

Email marketing is more complicated than it seems. Email frequency and delivery time can impact engagement levels significantly, so it’s useful to test-drive different approaches and figure out what works for your audience. You can test them in a small-scale, manual way using the TestLab process.

Time optimisation is also an area for testing. What is the time window that seems more effective for your users? You can use all this information to optimise the automation of your email marketing.

Purchase patterns

SKU correlation is a useful tool for ad targeting – if you know that buyers of product A also tend to buy product B, you can target them with suggestions or ad content. TestLab is an effective way to test alignment between SKUs and identify opportunities for targeting. Instead of using complex software to analyse all your sales data, you examine a small subset and extrapolate the results. This makes the process simpler and cheaper to manage – and helps you start targeting more quickly.


Tick 2building testing into your business with datamine

Marketing automation works best when it’s informed by continual testing, learning and adapting.

Datamine’s three-level testing and learning system lets you weave this analysis into the day-to-day work of your business, helping optimise marketing processes without slowing other systems down. We combine performance dashboards, control group testing, and our powerful TestLab process to help you gather insights – from big-picture performance to granular details – and make better marketing automation decisions.

Ready to change your marketing automation mindset? Talk to the Datamine team to find out more.


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