Ignoring this Key Direct Marketing Strategy Assures Failure

Nothing baffles me more than seeing clients refuse to test their direct mail creative work, offers and mailing lists. 

After testing several thousand direct mail packages during my long career in this business, clients refues to test when they could improve their response rates by 200-600% with smart testing.

Does everything work? Of course not, that's why testing become THE fundamental direct response markeyting strategy.

Testing means creating a program that test direct mail in the following manner.

  1. Test statistically reliable quantities. Test based on projected response based on your present control. 100 leads or 50 sales for each package should give you reproducable expansion reliability. Some companies look for at least 100 sales. But this depends on your average sale. The higher the average sales, the lower the response quantity of sales for each package.
  2. Always run the control package along with the test package to compare response and conversion rates. The control guarantees that all elements such as weather, current events and other external circumstances impact both direct mail packages similarly.
  3. Test mailing list catagories or list selects at the same time using a test grid approach.
  4. Consider all response points for proper attribution to the mailing. Create a special landing page for each offer or a PURL so web responses are attributed to the mailing. Many respondents to day use the phone or the Internet regardless of how you ask them to respond. So be prepared to track all response points by thinking through the response process.

I find clients insist on mailing untested self mailers in the face of the evidence that envelope packages with a ltter will beat response by 200% over postcards and self mailers. They alos do not test their list selection criteria or multiple list sources that will increase response by 400% or more.

So if you are not spending 15% or more on your annual budget for testing, you are well on your way to long term direct response program failure. The best you can do otherwise is to maintain status quo.

So I ask. Why are you refusing to test relying on your flawed instincts and anecdotal evidence. Star testing today and don't wait for someone else to uncover your weak direct response strategy.

Posted on March 2, 2015 and filed under Direct Mail, Direct Marketing Strategy, Mailing List, Planning.