If your marketing department is like a lot that I’ve seen, it’s filled with “creative” types. They make things that are pretty, produce lots of “stuff,” and throw great parties.
Most of us grow up and go through school with a decided lack of enthusiasm for tests. We worry about them, we study for them, and we sometimes fail them. Typically they weigh heavily on our academic success or failure. Who hasn't had a dream as an adult where they show up to class only to learn to their dismay that there's a test that day for which they haven't prepared? I know I have. As we grow into adulthood, the word takes on new meaning to represent a trial or tribulation (e.g., "That long boarding process for my flight tested my will to live").
A/B testing is one of those techniques that, if you have enough volume to give you significant results, is pretty much guaranteed to generate better results from your marketing. Email marketers have known this for ages, but what drives me nuts is that they waste their time on tiny little tests -- instead of tackling some of the bigger, more exciting tests that yield real insights and improvements.
One fascination in a presidential race mostly bereft of intrigue was the strange, incessant, and weirdly overfamiliar e-mails that emanated from the Obama campaign. Anyone who shared an address with the campaign soon started receiving messages from Barack Obama with subject lines such as “Join me for dinner?” “It’s officially over,” “It doesn’t have to be this way,” or just “Wow.” Jon Stewart mocked them on the Daily Show. The women’s website the Hairpin likened them to notes from a stalker.