The “wall test” has been used by agencies since the advent of integrated marketing to evaluate if the program’s messaging and communications accurately reflect the brand and are consistent across all channels. I am a big fan of this test and have used it throughout my career, as it does a great job of keeping both the agency and client honest.

But these days, using this test to only check for visual and messaging consistency means a missed opportunity to significantly improve the performance of your program and the value it can bring to the brand. By evolving the purpose of the wall test to include mapping out the integration and utilization of data, you can create programs to deepen consumer understanding. More importantly, you can use the test to better prepare yourself to make optimization decisions that will lead to better results. And I’m an even bigger fan of that.

It used to be that the wall test was limited to the account and creative teams inside agencies. But that was then. Now you can get valuable perspectives by including stakeholders from media, analytics, social, development, and even production. A word of caution: too many cooks can make the wall come crumbling down. But when you use their input intelligently, not only will you maintain brand consistency, you’ll also allow for: 

  • A more efficient media spend targeting the most likely customers in the channels that perform the best
  • Better utilization of data to drive more personalized marketing
  • Increased effectiveness of creative development dollars by thinking through the development and distribution of content across the program to drive greater engagement

So the next time you stick all the program elements up on the wall, consider modifying your review—and who’s in it—to better connect the dots and truly optimize your program.

By evolving the purpose of the wall test to include mapping out the integration and utilization of data, you can create programs to deepen consumer understanding.

Here are four ways to shake up your next “wall test” 

Modification #1: Looks Aren’t Everything

Go beyond using the wall to evaluate if everything’s “on brand.” Look at the functionality of each touch point to see if there are opportunities to improve data collection for future marketing efforts. Savvy marketers—especially ones who are selling products with more complex sales cycles—have evolved from creating passive content to more interactive surveys and videos. All in the name of capturing consumer data that can be used for future marketing.

Modification #2: Get Personal

With the rise of digital interconnectivity, information collected at one touch point can be used almost instantaneously to make another touch point more effective. For example, a name captured on a website can be used to personalize an email or a retargeting ad. Having all the tactics on the wall helps to identify every potential data source within the program and gives you an opportunity to literally show how data can be used across tactics to further personalize a message or tactic.

Modification #3: Map Your Content

With proper planning, a single video shoot can create content that can be edited for use in broadcast TV, pre-roll, social, website, display, etc. By including a producer, social and media expert in the review, you can more effectively plan for photo and video shoots as well as for making sure the content is tailored to be effective across different channels.

Modification #4: Plan for Optimization 

Especially with digital marketing, everything is a variable that can be tested. Headlines, visuals, copy, and calls to action all can be tested in the early stages of a program, and the results can inform optimization recommendations for the balance of the program. Use the wall test to identify which variables you want to test on various tactics so you can have all the different iterations available at the outset of the program.