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  • Frank Gussoni

No Preconceived Notions!

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

I recently listened to a podcast that described the business rivalry between Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The two super-premium ice cream giants spent years building their own distribution networks to deliver their products to local grocery stores coast-to-coast. While doing so, they went head-to-head competing for shelf space, distribution, advertising, and market share.

It wasn’t until years later, when Häagen-Dazs commissioned a thorough consumer behavior study, that they found out that Ben & Jerry’s was not their biggest competition. Turns out that Häagen-Dazs customers will choose another brand of ‘smooth’ ice cream over Ben & Jerry’s ‘chunky’ ice cream whenever their favorite Häagen-Dazs was not available and vice versa. Häagen-Dazs perfected the ‘smooth’ ice cream recipe and controlled the market and Ben & Jerry’s did the same for ‘chunky’ ice cream. Ice cream lovers were all in for either team smooth or team chunky, there was no middle ground.

This podcast hit a nerve. It made me ask “if only…?” a dozen times. If they only knew this information sooner how would that have changed their whole business strategy?

It is so important to have detailed data before you plan your marketing strategy. You might think that you know who your customer is, how they will react to your message, and where to reach them. But unless you have the data to support it, “you know nothing, Jon Snow”!

It’s crucial to begin your marketing strategy planning with no preconceived notions. Häagen-Dazs thought that Ben & Jerry’s was their biggest rival. They spent millions of dollars and many years on a strategy based on a preconceived notion. But they did not have the data to back up their plans. Data should be collected on target customers, geo demos, competitors, and media outlets before a strategy is developed. Review the data in its entirety and don’t cherry-pick it to fit your strategy. The resulting data should direct the strategy, not the other way around.

Once you have that data in hand and develop a preliminary marketing strategy, you are not done! It’s time to test your strategy. Test the strategy for a short period of time using A/B testing format to determine the best mix of creative and targeting. For example, A/B testing can be utilized to determine if the humorous or the informative creative resonates better with your target audience. Or A/B testing can be utilized to expand your target audience either demographically or geographically. Let the results of the initial test guide your decisions for the remainder of your advertising campaign.

Once you have the results of the initial test(s), only then can you confidently optimize the rest of the marketing campaign. Designating a small portion of the budget for testing can ensure that the right strategy is in place for the bulk of your budget.

At A3 Media we always enter each client’s strategic planning session with no preconceived notions. Our eyes and ears are wide open, and we are ready to comprehend what the data reveals. We don’t look for a single fact to hang our perceptions on, rather we use the majority of the data to craft the proper strategy for every client.

Whether you choose A3 or another media agency, make sure they get in on the bottom floor. By bringing us in on the ground floor, we can help you and your company develop testing plans that will help outline and optimize your marketing strategies going forward.

It’s money and time well spent; we guarantee it!



President & Founder of A3 media.

We’re Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.

Frank’s Take provides uncommon sense media buying advice for regional and mid-market businesses.

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President & Founder of A3 media. We’re Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.

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