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This week's quick tips are all about the importance of comparing and why it should always be at the top of your list.

Old fashioned salesmen in films like “Glengarry Glen Ross” used to tell each other “ABC – Always Be Closing”. In a modern digital marketing world, it’s probably more relevant to think “always be comparing”. By which we mean – always be comparing the results of any piece of advertising or marketing with what you might have expected from some other alternative.

It’s not always necessary to get all “Big Data” about things and carry out a formal A/B test on everything you do. Formal data-driven analysis has its place, of course, and there are some contexts in which it’s absolutely necessary. But realistically, nobody is going to do an A/B test on every social media share and nor should they.

What you can do for every single piece of content you put out, though, is have a think at the time you press the button, along the lines of “What am I expecting from this? What sort of engagement did I get last time I did something like this?”. If you set your mental benchmark right at the start, then you will be better placed to know whether something matched up to your expectations.

The great advantage of modern digital marketing is that feedback is so easy to collect. Platforms like ours help you collect this data, but it’s no good to you if you don’t use it! On the other hand, you don’t want to fall into a state of “paralysis by analysis”, where you never do anything (and certainly never do anything new) because you’re spending all your time combing through metrics hoping to find the secret of the perfect marketing message.

A good compromise between the two is just to get into the habit of setting your expectations at the start of the process, and taking a quick look afterwards to see whether things matched up. You’ll find that you quickly develop a sense for what works and what doesn’t. If you always look back, and mentally divide your content into three categories of “obviously works”, “obviously doesn’t work” and “hard to tell”, then over time you’ll find that you make better marketing decisions.

The Quick Tips series from Openr is intended as a 2 minute read on all things digital marketing, from recent changes in the scene and how to accommodate them, to tips from other digital marketers in the Openr tribe.

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