The Creative Lab™
Today we’re gonna be talking about a process that we use called The Creative Lab™ – this is a process that we use internally for our customers as well as for our own advertising to speak exactly to the right avatar, with the right messaging, creating messaging that resonates and harmonizes with that avatar to sell more products.
Step 1: Deep Dive Research
The first step, and the step that is the most important (it’s the one that takes the most time because it takes usually about seven to 14 days), is what we refer to as Deep Dive Research.
During the Deep Dive Research Phase, we’re doing not just tertiary research, like “Hey, you’ve got a 37-year-old female who lives in Austin, Texas, who drives a Chrysler minivan and has two kids. And likes to go to the gym.”
That’s not good enough.
That’s not an avatar.
That’s a guess, and that’s what we avoid here.
We used to do it that way. We used to do what is referred to as a spaghetti creative, when you’re just throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks, without really doing any research.
Until we realized that we really need to go deep here, especially now, especially with all the privacy concerns, especially with iOS, your messaging has to be spot on. In fact, the audiences that you target on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Google, aren’t really as laser-focused anymore, which means you have to up your game when it comes to messaging and your messaging has got to resonate with your avatar or multiple avatars.
In most cases, we create up to five, maybe even more, that each has different messaging based upon their desires, their pain points – How they’re feeling, how they think. Not just what targeting is and we just put a blend message in front of them that no longer works here in 2021. And it all starts with deep dive research.
Now, the place that we start and it’s one of 16 places that we look for and we go really, really deep with this stuff, is Amazon. Amazon reviews are probably the biggest treasure trove of potential messaging for your avatar, for your particular target market.
If you have a product on Amazon, that’s great. It’s a great first step. Immediately look at your reviews.
And what we do is we go through each and every review, we use a couple of tools that actually pull out the reviews. There is a Chrome add-on that we use there, Amazon review exporter. And then we go to other parts of Amazon, which is the referrer tool or the recommended tool is what some people call it. So refer or recommender, however you do it it’s recommended by or recommended for. The other one is People Who Bought This Also Bought This. And that can be a really good way in which to go even deeper to competitive products, products that maybe you hadn’t even thought of before.
You probably think, “Hey, I know exactly who my competitors are.” But Amazon, because the algorithm is so deep and they’ve got so much data on billions of people, literally billions of people rely on that algorithm and use that tool, the review tool, download all the reviews, and start analyzing the consistencies and the common threads within all those individual reviews. What you’ll find is you’re going to start seeing patterns. And that’s what we look for here in Deep Dive Research.
So, another place that we look at is competitor reviews. We go to Google reviews. We also listen to call center recordings. We might do a founder’s interview. We obviously study the sales page, go really deep on the sales page. If it’s a lead magnet or a webinar, we’ll watch the webinar multiple times. These are sort of basic things that a lot of people don’t do. And if your team isn’t doing this and you’re responsible for your marketing for your company, they should absolutely, at the very least, go deeper into the research.
Now, this is just the first of seven steps, but all the other six steps go right back to Deep Dive Research and they pull from it. So, once we do all that research, which as I said, takes about a week to 10 days, we start to develop messaging, and that is step two.
Step 2: Messaging
With messaging, we might start to formulate maybe five individual avatars. So for example, for a work at home product or a business opportunity product, there might be the 18 to a 24-year-old female that is looking for a side hustle. Maybe she just got her GED or maybe just came out of college and maybe got a job, is now looking to be a little bit more entrepreneurial. Well, her desires and her pain points are very different from another avatar for that very same product.
Might be a stay-at-home mom. Might be 30, 40, or maybe 50 years of age is looking for a way to spend time with her kids, have a flexible schedule, obviously, work from home, you know, have this as sort of a side gig that she might do that might actually turn into a full-time gig for her maybe when her kids leave and go off to college. Those are just two avatars and specific avatars we’ve actually used for one of our customers, very different messaging.
If you try to use the same messaging for both of them then your ads are going to fall flat. And that’s what we see with a lot of internal teams and a lot of other agencies because they don’t do the deep dive research upfront. And as a result of that, if they short change that, that spaghetti creative like I said, their messaging is going to be really flat and your ads just won’t work, especially now.
It’s not just a matter of targeting the right audiences with all these ninja targeting options like Facebook used to have, Google used to have, obviously that’s going away with the flock.
Your front-end messaging has to be spot-on.
It has to speak to your avatar’s pain points.
It has to speak to their desires and your product or service is the bridge to help them get to where they want to be from the before state, where they’re not so happy, to the after state, where they’re with your product or service.
And it really starts with deep-dive research.
If you don’t do that, your ads just won’t resonate.
Especially now, with tracking issues, with lack of visibility, privacy issues, all across the board. So after we do that, we get our message together.
Step 3: Creative Brief
We usually come back to the customer and say, “Hey, this is our sort of our initial thoughts.” We get the green light, and we start creating what’s referred to as Creative Briefs. This is where we might put together an avatar document where maybe there are five individual avatars, two of which I just mentioned here in this video, maybe there are three others. And then each one has its own messaging, its own pain points, its own desires. We haven’t written any copy yet. We haven’t created any creative yet. We haven’t done any videos yet. So these are just ideas, formulated ideas. We then present back, get feedback, make sure that they’re consistent with the brand.
Step 4: Creative Execution
And then we go on to the next step, which is Creative Actual Execution.
This is where our creative team will then take the creative brief and then start creating ad copy, specific ad copy to each avatar, each of the five avatars we’ll create individual images for each individual avatar. we’ll start formulating videos, maybe storyboarding out videos we can piece together with pre-existing content. So this is a process here.
All right, right now we’ve already done really sort of three big steps.
We’re on our fourth step and we really don’t even have a fully formulated ad quite yet. We haven’t launched it to the market quite yet. And that’s ultimately where the rubber really meets the road.
If you’re testing all your initial ads to warm traffic to your list, to your website, custom audiences, to your fans, you’re not going to get a real signal. So, the next step is the most critical one.
Yeah, you can certainly email your list and do all those other things, but that is not going to scale and grow your business. You have to test these messages and these actual creatives, ad copy images, videos, GIFs, might be slideshows, in the actual market. And that’s when we test and ultimately report.
Step 5: Test and Report
So, Test and Report is step five. In this step we’ll create, what’s referred to as a sandbox campaign inside the individual ad platform, it might be Facebook, might be Google, and maybe this will be about two to 5% of the total budget for the individual customer. So it’s a smaller budget, it’s taken outside of the referred to as business as usual ads. Those are the ones that you’re just running as a campaign. Maybe they’re the ones that your agency has just taken over. These are separate from those because you want their own testing platform. You want their own sandbox. So you can really start figuring out which one of these creatives, which one of these messages, which one of these avatars is really starting to resonate with the market.
Once we test and report, this typically takes a week or two at least to get some initial signals and it might not be a CPA. It might not be a cost per acquisition. It might not be a lead. Maybe it’s click-through rate, maybe it’s cost per click, maybe it’s engagement. So, it depends on what your CPA is. Depends on how much you can afford to acquire a customer. Obviously the more testing here with dollars, the better, but we can do it on small budgets as well. And like I said, if your marketing agency, if your internal team, isn’t doing at least a few of these steps, then you’re really leaving money on the table.
Step 6: Data Analysis
Step six is super important because this is where we analyze all of our ads. We do deep dive analysis and we figure out, okay, which ones are working, which ones are not working, what signals are telling us? Yeah, this thing has legs and which ones we just throw away and say, that was a terrible idea. That just really doesn’t resonate with the market, which does happen.
Usually, we find out that probably about 70 to 80% of the ads here in our analysis, don’t really resonate and that’s okay. And that’s okay. That’s actually fine. If you can get a 30% success rate with an initial run like this, that’s actually pretty good. 500, you’re hall of fame, 200 or less, or 20%, or 10% and you might want to go back to deep-dive research cause you’re just not really resonating with the market.
Step 7: Kaizen Creative
Last but not least, we then do the last step, which is Kaizen Kreative. And this is just sort of a fancy term for the process of figuring out what works, what doesn’t work, and we’re iterating on the best stuff. We’re throwing away everything else. So we’re taking maybe 20% of the ads in the analysis phase [that] worked. Now, all we do is we throw that creative that did work – Either got the CPA, CPL, was showing some signs of life – We throw it back into the engine all the way back up here to Messaging. And then we go through the whole process all over again.
So, this process here is somewhat circular in the fact that you’re constantly improving your Kreative Kaizen, which means never-ending improvement. We’re big believers in that philosophy – It’s a Japanese philosophy. We really believe that you take your best stuff, you iterate on it and you can continuously produce what we refer to as unicorn ads, ads that just drive your business and push your market forward.
We don’t always get unicorns.
Sometimes we get workhorse ads. Those are good as well, as long as they’re not show horse ads, we throw those away.
But we really figure out, all right, which ones are working here? We put it right back into this engine. And if we run out of ideas, the beauty is we’ve done all the work right up here. We can go back to the drawing board and maybe add individual avatars. Maybe we found that one of the avatars really resonated and some of the others didn’t. Well, we might do offshoots of that avatar, maybe even revisiting the deep dive creative phase, which is sort of the first stage of this entire super system.
So, this is the seven-step process we use. It’s called The Creative Lab.
If you’d like to learn more about what we do at tier 11, I’m sure there’s a link in and around this video. But most importantly, if your internal team or your agency isn’t at least doing some portion of this, then your ads are not doing what they should be doing, your marketing is not as effective as it can be and you are leaving money on the table.
Hopefully, this video here on the Tier 11 chalkboard has been helpful for you. And if you’d like to hear more about Tier 11, click the link in or around the video. We would love to help you deploy The Creative Lab in your business.
Till next time – Talk to you soon.
Tier 11, Founder & CEO