De-risking Decisions: Make more money from your big marketing bets
Channel Scaling
Creative Testing
Video Content

De-risking Decisions: Make more money from your big marketing bets

Jon BrodyJon Brody

July 15, 2021

In marketing, same as in poker, to win big, you have to bet big. The key is to make your big marketing bets in a de-risked way, which is why we at Ladder put a lot of emphasis on being test-driven. In order for that to work, you have to be lean - you have to essentially make small bets to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and you must have a lot of velocity in testing those bets at scale. That said, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that we’re here to win, and win big.

How to avoid the risk of an expensive campaign falling flat

There comes a point in every growth journey where you have to make big bets and allocate large amounts of resources. The key issue then becomes doing so in a de-risked way. You have to know when to make those bets and how to have better control over the outcomes to avoid the worrisome situation of investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a massive campaign, only to have it fall flat. This is where test-driven methodology comes in.

De-risking a marketing campaign at the creative level

The only way to de-risk a massive campaign is by understanding what the creative-level elements involved are when it comes to your concept (for example your themes), and how to apply them when it comes to both messaging and visual choices to particular user segments. Beyond that, it’s important to make sure that the amount of money you’re spending on the campaign is a reasonable percentage in relation to how much media spend, or how much overall traffic, the campaign will be getting.

For example, if you know a certain concept or creative approach is working really well, you need an actual plan to scale up a $100,000 in media spend behind it. No matter how de-risked your decisions were, it would never make sense to invest an amount into, say, a video, if you’re not gonna spend more than that on the actual media. 

So technically, there are two things to de-risk here:

  1. Make sure you’re de-risking the creative choices and elements that are most likely to drive positive resonance
  2. Make sure they will be a part of an actual campaign that’s going to have the volume behind it

How to compete with a small marketing budget

We created a super low-fi video for a pre-launch challenger startup. It incorporated elements that we had proven were resonating really well with the market, through really basic static design testing. We then took a low-fi approach using some really good stock footage and basic best-practice motion design. Most importantly, we de-risked our decision making at the creative level by knowing what types of visuals to show, because every single visual prompt had a purpose that was previously de-risked. Ultimately, the performance of this video beat out that of a $100,000 video.

The power of that goes to show how de-risking decision making at the creative level is a huge lever to pull in your overall marketing organization that allows you to compete even when your budgets are small.

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