A 7-Step Method to Beat Your Direct Mail Control
When your analysis is complete, formulate your hypothesis. This is a statement that summarizes what you believe the real problem is and what — in general terms — should be done about it. For example: "The acquisition package is getting a good response and has beat out all contenders, but the ROI could be better. The package must be made more cost efficient while maintaining the current response and conversion rate."
By now, your eyes are bleary and your brain is numb. It's time for a break. Set everything aside and do something else. Take a walk. Golf. Nap. Anything. The break will allow your brain to cool off, to sift and organize subconsciously. If your schedule allows, set everything aside for several days.
5. CREATE your ideas
Now it's time to come up with some ideas. How you proceed will be determined largely by your analysis of the control.
If the control is excellent, it may be doing all it can do. So, your best bet is to brainstorm fresh ideas and take a different approach to beat it.
If the control is merely good — the category most controls will fall into — there's room for improvement. Look for something to change about the current control to improve results.
If the control is bad, toss it. Start from scratch and create something new. It's safest to use a proven formula, to go back to basics. (Caution: A control can only be a control if it has won in tests. So, a "control" that shows poor technique or low numbers may indicate faulty testing or other serious problems.)
6. EVALUATE your ideas
Go over the ideas you've generated. Weed out all but the best. If you don't like anything, or think you can do better, go back to creating for a while. When the deadline gets close or when you stop generating useful ideas, move on. Choose the single best idea you have. This is the one you will develop.