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Test marketing your perfume

The purpose of testing is to buy information. This information may come at a cost or it may come free. It may even come with a small profit. But the purpose of testing is to get data to predict the likely results should you roll out your promotion. The art of testing is to produce accurate data at the lowest possible cost.

A major fragrance marketer may test a new fragrance (promotion) in one or just a handful of (inexpensive) cities before rolling out nationally. Rarely will a major marketer do a national roll out without test result that give a strong indication that profit lies ahead.

No vendor will encourage you to test.

Testing can answer many questions but the most important is, "Will my perfume sell or will it bomb?"

To test your promotion you need a test quantity of perfume and a test market typical of your total market.

There are two ways you can get perfume for your test. You can produce a small batch of your real perfume, exactly the way it will be when you roll out, or you can substitute a dummy perfume for your test.

Testing with the real product is preferable but producing your real perfume in a small test quantity can be impractical or overly expensive. A dummy perfume can be produced at small cost (see Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup!) and give you accurate results.

Setting up the test itself in a small but typical market is often a difficult proposition. To get accurate — projectable — results, the small market you test in must be an accurate reflection of the larger market you will roll out to. Moreover, the promotion you are testing must make use of the same media you will be using for your roll out. For the test to yield useful data it must be a miniature of the full roll out you have planned — with one exception.

I wrote above about using a dummy fragrance for your test. This was no joke. Done well, you can substitute a dummy perfume for the real one because what you are trying to find out is not whether your perfume will sell but rather whether your promotional concept can sell any perfume at all.

Making this determination with a cheap test can save you lots of money and grief.

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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.