Make the Most of Market Research
From list selection and price points to offer and creative, market research can have a strong influence on just about every aspect of a direct mail campaign. "It's kind of like the old 40-40-20 method. We find that about half of the effectiveness of marketing research goes into list selection," says Alan Weber, president of Marketing Analytics Group, a direct marketing consultancy based in Cleveland, Mo., "and the other half can be realized by making better offers and more appropriate creative to those segments." Whether the data is scientifically generated or anecdotally shared, it can give you the creative insight you need to develop packages and campaigns that really resonate.
Of course, that inspiration doesn't just strike at first glance; you have to work at it, wading through all those numbers and comments to get at the useful nuggets. "You have the important role," says Lauren Livingston, senior account executive at New York-based advertising agency Sudler and Hennessey, "of making sense of the data and driving a concept that works for both the product and the audience."
So how do you accomplish this daunting task and turn a research report into an effective package? First, you need to know what you've got and what to look for. And then, you roll up your sleeves and dig into the data, conducting a little research of your own.
So, What Do You Have There?
Almost any kind of information you can get your hands on will help improve your direct mail package, you just have to know what to do with it.
The first thing that direct response copywriter Pat Friesen does with a research report is look for "the things that really pop out, good or bad. Because if there's a problem, then I have to address it in a positive way. I'm looking for things that really jump off the page." If the report has an executive summary, that's a great place to start because any strong anomalies likely will be presented there.