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Test-planning template for holiday mobile marketing

By Kim Ann King

So, you are working at a hip interactive agency and thinking, ?How am I going to make a difference in my clients? mobile Web campaigns this year??

Maybe you are the client thinking the same thing: ?What could my agency possibly do that?s going to knock my socks off?? You are both looking for something new and different.

Well, I have got an idea. I have written before about the importance of testing your mobile marketing efforts, and I think it is safe to say that given the lousy economy, testing is more important than ever.

The economy has been so bad that even the usually robust ecommerce sector is hurting.

In fact, according to comScore, second-quarter 2009 represents only the second quarter on record in which ecommerce spending was lower than the same quarter the previous year.

U.S. online retail spending totaled $30.2 billion in the second quarter, down 1 percent versus a year ago. Yikes!

So, if ecommerce is not doing so hot, how are you going to make the difference in mobile commerce, a sector that is still finding its footing?

Never fear. There are actions you can take right now to increase customer engagement and conversion rates.

One of the most important things you can do before you even get started is to organize your mobile Web test plans.

The reality is that effective testing requires deliberate, methodical planning and execution ? and like most  things, you get back what you put in.

That means without a structured plan for testing, companies can end up with the wrong type of data, wasted time, and frustrated internal stakeholders.

Hmmm ? sound familiar? That is probably because you didn?t have a test plan in place.

But that is okay, because developing one is pretty easy. Think about what you want to test, the goals you want to achieve, and what constitutes success or failure.

Here?s a test-plan template we share with our mobile clients in kick-off meetings before any testing is done.

1) What are you trying to test? Is it a mobile landing page, elements of a campaign, or specific content?

2) Why do you want to run this test? Are you trying to increase something, decrease something, or improve how something looks? Do you have data that prompted the need for this test?

3) What success criteria do you have in mind for this test? For example, will you be successful if you increase the number of click-throughs by 10 percent?

4) What criteria would cause you to want the test stopped immediately? For example, if the conversion rate declines by 10 percent during the test, should we stop the test?

5) What specific measures and key performance indicators (KPIs), and which visitor segments, will you be watching during this test? For example, the click-through rate or bounce rate for first-time visitors who view the test page? Or, the conversion rate across the mobile site for all visitors?

6) What marketing initiatives or external factors are you aware of that could affect the test? For example, will you be running a competing email promotion during the same time or are you changing your ad spending?

7) What internal and external resources are required for this test? For example, what development or information technology resources will be required? Are outside agencies involved in generating creative for the test? Who else needs to be involved in the approval process?

8) What departments and key internal stakeholders are potentially affected by this test? For example, might this test affect sales or lead generation? Could test designs be construed as ?off brand? and affect public relations and marketing efforts?

9) Who is the most senior person in the organization requesting the test? Is it you, your manager, your manager?s manager or the CEO?

10)  Ideally, by when do you need test results? Keep in mind that test timing depends on many variables including the scope of the test, your success criteria and other tests being run.

I expect this test-planning template will be a useful tool for you as you get ready to jumpstart your holiday mobile marketing efforts.

But hop to it ? time is flying by and those shoppers do not hang around. They are mobile, after all.

Kim Ann King is chief marketing officer of SiteSpect Inc., Boston. Reach her at .