Cleared For Takeoff
Airline pilots complete a lengthy pre-flight checklist before the plane leaves the gate. These provisions “ensure that appropriate information is gathered and considered before flight. It is extremely important for pilots to be well-prepared ahead of time with the information they will need to make good… decisions.” (Wikipedia)
You wouldn’t want the captain to just head down the runway without these preparations. Yet how many of our programs, campaigns, or other efforts take off without any advance review?
Maybe you need a pilot of your own. Nope, not an aeronautical whiz. A research pilot involves testing an effort on a small scale. You can evaluate results and make any necessary adjustments before launching broadly. Here are some examples:
- The ASPCA tested its Meet Your Match program with a small number of shelter partners. Research examined whether the Canine-ality™ and Feline-ality™ assessments predicted behavior in the home, how satisfied adopters were with the process, and how implementation worked for shelter personnel.
- Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) conducted a pilot in the Washington, DC area to examine a variety of promotional efforts. The findings drove approaches in other cities to advance the Certified Humane Raised & Handled™ label. HFAC pursued the winning strategies and pulled back on less successful efforts.
- PetSmart Charities (PCI) ran advertising in Phoenix (where its headquarters are located) and Oklahoma City for its People Saving Pets™ initiative. The intent was to see how well the campaign resonated with potential adopters. Then PCI could consider any potential changes before rolling out in other markets.
These efforts avoid wasting money, time and energy by “getting the bugs out” before committing to a full-scale launch. Who among us has extra resources to lose?
Get Started with Pilots
Before your next new venture takes wing, think about conducting a pilot. Find out whether the program or campaign is really going to fly.
- Determine what constitutes success. For example, is your goal increasing spay/neuters, inspiring people to go veg, or building use of humane wildlife services?
- Define a subset of your public for testing. Choose a geographic area, a test group of participants, or even a limited period of time.
- Set a baseline. If you designed your new campaign to power up an existing endeavor, see what results you’re getting beforehand. So, you might track monthly spay/neuters for the last two to three years (or more), requests for vegetarian starter kits, or calls to the humane wildlife services center.
- Determine how you will measure and analyze performance. Do you already collect the data you need or will you need additional measurement? Often you have the bottom-line, such as procedures, requests, or inquiries, but you want more information on how people responded to aspects of your pilot.
Get Help to Make it Easy
Priority Ventures Group and Faunalytics have worked together to help organizations such as the ASPCA, Humane Farm Animal Care, Farm Sanctuary, and others structure and assess pilots and other new programs. Please contact us if you would benefit from assistance in developing your pilot or providing other assistance to help your efforts rise above the clouds.
Get Ready to Soar
You may have heard the phrase, “will it play in Peoria?” Although the phrase originated in a book (Wikipedia), Peoria has also been famous as a test market. Consumer goods companies, the entertainment industry, and politicians have all brought new ideas, products, and services to town, because they view the population as an average American city.
These companies and leaders know that investing in testing pays off many times over in more effective offerings and messages. Try it yourself, and watch your impact reach new heights!