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Marketing Trials – Does the Holy Grail Exist?

We have all been in a position where we want to bring on new business and are considering new or revisiting certain marketing techniques to facilitate this. As there are so many marketing solutions let alone marketing companies out there professing they are ‘THE’ one, it can be difficult to know where to go and there is a certain fear of the unknown. As a result, a lot of companies offer marketing trials. However, there are many misconceptions and assumptions about marketing trials.

In this post, we try to give you some honest truths and figures about marketing trials. Unfortunately, many do not perform as positively as a full campaign would and they paint a fairly inaccurate picture. In some cases certain trials and campaigns that may work for one sector may not effectively work for another. This begs the question, does the perfect trial exist?

We want your marketing to perform as best as it can for you. Having been in the industry for many years, we understand which solution will give you the best exposure in your industry. Using this experience, we address certain misconceptions about marketing trials and what you should look out for when you next market your products/services.


One of the main misconceptions that comes with a trial is that the results would increase pro-rata with a larger order. For example, if a trial involved calling 100 companies and you made 5 leads, this would be a highly positive result in most cases, assuming it is appropriately priced of course. However, that does not mean that calling 1,000 companies will guarantee 50 leads. Many companies will present a trial like this, giving an inaccurate representation of the target market potential.

Stating that you need to email X however many records or spend X hours telemarketing to achieve set results is simply not the case. There are so many contributing factors that affect lead making and it is impossible to put a scale in place.

On average, an email marketing campaign yields about a 10% open rate. Click through rates are much lower at about 2%. While this is an average, Impact have had click rates of over 45% on campaigns before with open rates of over 80%. Ultimately these were achieved through highly targeted marketing which is no surprise really! Therefore, it is incredibly difficult to predict how a marketing trial will perform as it only goes to a small sample. The results are not truly representative of the market.

Response rates vary greatly across different marketing mediums. Direct mail for example yields on average about 4% response. Once again however, there are so many factors that affect response and only sending to a small sample does not give it a proper fighting chance.

The success of your campaign ultimately comes down to the product/service being offered and the demand for it. A trial will not necessarily go to people in the right stage of their buying cycle. There is an underlying assumption that it will go to the right people at the right time. If it is a small data set that it is being broadcast to, it is unlikely to perform as well as you hope. A larger data set gives it more chances of going to people who are in more of a position to buy.

Ideal Trial Size

As mentioned previously, we have years of experience in providing trials and running campaigns for our clients. Based on our knowledge and experience, we would recommend a minimum trial of 10,000 records. It is important to contact a large number of people/businesses to gain a thorough understanding of the market you are targeting. A small trial simply cannot accomplish this. You will hit people who are not in the right part of their buying cycle and it will paint a inaccurate, negative image of the market. 10,000 records provides a good benchmark and establishes how receptive your target audience is.

Targeted, Accurate Data

The key to any successful marketing campaign is in the data that is used. In a trial, you/the marketing company only contact a small segment of your target market. For this to be successful, the data must be highly accurate and cleansed regularly. If the data list has not been managed properly, you will contact the wrong people or call invalid phone numbers. This results in a failed trial that will prevent you from wanting to go ahead with a full campaign.

Impact Marketing own and manage a number of different data lists. These are all managed in house and cleansed on a regular basis to ensure they are of the highest quality. Therefore, when used on a trial basis, our data performs at a much higher rate than other marketing companies. This will give you a more accurate reflection of your target market’s attitudes towards your products/services.


Marketing trials are an effective tool that give you key insight into your target market. However, many are too small, not targeting a large enough sample. The plain truth is you get what you pay for. Trials are good but there is very little that a small trial can realistically achieve. More records and a larger trial provide a more accurate reflection which will help you more when it comes to planning your full marketing campaign.

The holy grail is out there but you need to give a marketing trial as much of a fighting chance as possible for it to be an accurate reflection of your target market.

Impact Marketing provide a number of different marketing services. We have years of experience working on both consumer and business campaigns. Get in touch today and a member of our team will be happy to discuss your marketing plans and advise on what would work best in your industry.

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