Use Smoke Testing to Poll Demand and Test Before You Create

This is a blog by Mark Verzijl, Consultant at Sciential.

"𝘐𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘥𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘺 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘦?" In many circumstances, smoke testing provides answers and insights into this question. This term, derived from the IT industry, means that you first poll interest in the product or service before you actually finish it or even create it. Conversions in your smoke test indicate the demand from the audience and could be the validation you need to scale up effort and resources.

For instance, you advertise a free webinar, but this webinar is yet to be recorded. However, you have already set up an ad to bring in leads for the webinar. This allows you to test at high speed whether the target audience is showing interest, without having to create the lead magnet first. This is because often a lot of time goes into developing a lead magnet like a webinar. With a smoke test, you know for sure if it's going to be worth this time investment. The example I gave was about webinars, but life science marketers can also use this to test new products or services, propositions, pricing or even business models in general. All of this can be done without the final product being finalized.

The main advantage of smoke testing is that it avoids socially desirable answers and reveals actual behavioural intent. Admittedly, this form of intention prediction is not suitable for every company and situation. Therefore, my tip for life science marketers is to think of situations in which you quickly want to test a hypothesis without committing all of your time, effort and resources without having identified the need. Especially in these circumstances, smoke testing is an ideal tool.


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