Rejuvenate Your Response!
The creative critique process is an effective approach to solving problems and uncovering ideas that can add new life to flagging control ads or direct mail packages.
The critique can be done by in-house staff or an outside set of eyes. Either way, the goal is to make objective observations about your existing control to help identify creative opportunities for future success.
Surprising as it may sound, an effective creative critique begins the review of a lot more than just copy, layout and design. For example, taking a closer look at the graphic presentation of your address labels might lead to a discussion of whether it's time to test a new premium offer.
Here are the key elements you need to look at when doing a creative critique:
1. Objective(s). Is the objective to generate leads, sales, traffic, members or donors?
2. Results. What are the results? And has response changed over time? If so, how?
3. Targeted audience. Who is the targeted audience? Are there primary and secondary audiences? What do you know about these individuals? Is there also a "screener" you must get past before reaching your targeted audience? When you review results (#2), make sure to review them by audience segment. This can provide your first clues to improving results.
For example, if a mailing is significantly more effective with multi-buyers than with first-time buyers, you will want to test a different package or mailing component (i.e., outer envelope) to first-time "triers" to transform them into multi-buyers.
4. Offer. Make a list of all the elements of your offer. This includes price, premium, free trial, contest/sweepstakes, deadlines, referral request, gift-giving services, continuity option, yes/no response options, guarantee, payment options, terms and methods to respond.
Even though you're doing a creative critique, the best opportunities for revitalizing a control mailing or ad frequently are related to the offer—how well it is promoted, or how it can be promoted differently.