How ESP can improve your TV campaign

Agencies and corporations no longer build brands—consumers do. Anyone who doubts this need only spend a few minutes on social media. Today, every consumer and every interest group has a ready platform for worldwide, real-time conversations. Brands which fail to yield to consumer preferences quickly fall by the wayside.

More democracy in the brand landscape demands new forms of listening, learning and testing for advertisers. The agency creative team, in a sense, must be clairvoyant: able to see the future and develop spots that inspire the audience, read their emotions and evolve your brand. Testing makes this possible, while simultaneously taming the expense of television.

Testing has a long (and sometimes troubled) relationship with advertising. Historically, focus groups served to work out the creative kinks before a spot aired. However, this feedback tends to emphasize what the audience believes rather than the more critical measurement − what propels your audience to act (call, shop, share and ultimately, buy). Focus groups can also be costly and time-consuming.

Marketers and agencies now have far more techniques and data. However, many mainstream agencies and ego-driven creative directors still hesitate to employ these critical learning mechanisms. Advertisers, while interested in the insights, often balk at the costs.

Here at Marketing Architects, we’ve bundled the best of these tools into our proprietary Creative ESP platform. Because we believe so strongly in the value of testing, and the impact the right creative makes on a brand’s results, we offer these testing services at no charge to our clients.

We still believe smart creative is an art form. That’s why our staff includes talented and experienced broadcast writers, animators, engineers and art directors, as well as the latest in audio and video technologies. But, we also understand that great creative gets even better when paired with cutting-edge data science. Just because a TV spot wins an award for its clever imagery doesn’t mean it wins your customers’ hearts. Next-generation creative must resonate both rationally and emotionally with consumers, and evolve based on their feedback.

We craft, measure and optimize every emotive variable of a TV ad to reveal what really moves the audience. The perfectly penned tagline. The relatable tone of the announcer’s voice. The music jingle that refuses to let go of the audience’s ear. It all matters. Here are a few of the many tools in the Creative ESP testing platform that we couldn’t live without:


Audience research

Before creative development even begins, we dive into the consumer’s world. Here, primary and secondary market research reveal the cultural and lifestyle trends, motivations, psychographics and key issues that really matter. Understanding this context fuels creative that reaches the heart and the mind.


More than 247 million listeners tune in every week to traditional and satellite radio, as well as podcasts. It’s a great place to debut and optimize the messages in an ad before making the more expensive leap to television airplay. Radio can validate quickly which voices, music, taglines and offers stand out.

Eye tracking

Where radio tests content and audio, this powerful tool captures an ad’s visual appeal. Specialized software tracks a viewer’s eye movements and translates those movements into a heat map that overlays the creative. Intense colors show the strongest components of the ad and provide insight to retool the rest.

Online surveys

The fast feedback from an online survey supports concept testing before an ad airs and enables advertisers to continuously refine their approach. Two techniques we love: hyper-targeted sampling to identify an ad’s impact on a sub-segment of an audience, and deep ad diagnostics, which illuminate the top qualities of the ad. Diagnostics pinpoint how likeable, informative and believable a spot is—and help advertisers improve what the audience considers overwhelming, boring or confusing.

Social media lab

One of our newest elements harnesses the real-time, 24/7 conversations occurring on Facebook, Twitter and other social channels. This analysis reveals keyword and topic trends to enable advertisers to optimize their online efforts during a TV campaign. It also supports image and headline testing to hone the TV spot itself. There’s no better way to monitor the ever-changing pulse of brand-savvy consumers.

Seeing the data from all these testing mechanisms can be a humbling experience—especially when spots that speak to you personally (or spots you created!) fail to launch in the larger market. But, the benefits far outweigh the momentary hit to the ego. With ongoing testing, you move your campaign forward with confidence, knowing it’s built on breakthrough creative that generates results.

For our clients, it safeguards their most important asset: their company’s brand reputation. It also maximizes the budget investment. For Marketing Architects, it demonstrates our commitment to our clients’ ongoing success, and the value we place in developing effective, long-term relationships.

Pass your final exam. Take the guesswork and expense out of your television investment. Contact us for a tour of the powerful Creative ESP platform and to explore how testing can improve your next broadcast campaign.