10 International Direct Mail Tests (895 words)
A change in your offer, creative or package size can dramatically increase response—or not. You'll never know unless you test. That's the beauty of direct marketing: You have the ability to test, re-test and roll out with your best effort.
At Al Goodloe's recent Publisher's Multinational Direct "How Publishers Build Sales and Profits in Foreign Markets" conference, international mailers Institutional Investor, International Airline Passengers Association and National Geographic showed how they tested premiums, offers and creative in their international mail packages. Here's a down-and-dirty look at what worked, what didn't and why.
•The Institutional Investor's double postcard U.K. control was pulling a good response, but its pay up was low. It decided to test the same subscription offer—a complimentary issue—in a #73⁄4 monarch envelope with a BRE. It found the monarch lowered its gross response but increased its net with pay up and beat the control. According to Wendy Frank, circulation director of Institutional Investor, the monarch-sized package beat the double postcard because it is a format seldom seen in the U.K.
•In yet another U.K. test, the Institutional Investor hired a U.K.-based agency to create a new package written exclusively for the U.K. market. The offer and the size of the package were the same as the current monarch-sized control, but the appeal spoke to a U.K. audience. Surprise! The U.S. control won. "Good copy will work, no matter if it's created in the U.S. or the U.K.," says Frank.
•Still looking to increase pay up, the magazine decided to test pricing in local currencies throughout Europe and Asia—where it previously offered only U.S. dollar prices. By offering its subscribers the ability to pay in the local currency, it increased both its pay up and net even though currency transactions had added to its overhead.
•Lastly, the magazine tested offering a premium—a day planner—in both its domestic and international markets. The premium did well domestically but pulled poorly in Europe. Frank attributes the success of the premium in the U.S. to its being printed in U.S. English and including U.S. holidays. Why did it bomb internationally? A European audience didn't feel the premium related to the product, explains Frank.