Direct Selling: Testing 101
Direct marketing testing can be a controversial topic. While some multichannel marketers never make a creative, offer or timing change without extensive testing and retesting, others stay away from testing because they find it is too difficult to plan and execute.
The truth is that testing in catalog, Internet and e-mail campaigns is difficult and expensive. Compare multichannel testing to a solo mailing test and you become green with envy. In a solo, you can test price, offer, copy platform, outer envelope teaser, reply envelope color or even product by simply replacing one insert, letter, brochure or envelope with another.
How do you test catalog pricing without doing a black plate change? Or copy style? Because of the nature of a bound, multipage catalog and multiple product Web sites, testing typically is confined to offers, sequential or seasonal timing, covers, order forms or catalog wrap-arounds. Maybe it’s due to the difficulty of testing that many direct marketers simply give up or refuse to think about testing in a statistical manner. Sure, list testing goes on all the time. And new product testing is central to growing a catalog and Web business. But what about testing offers, format or number of pages—things that can make a major difference in catalog results?
With this in mind, here are six common testing mistakes marketers make. Grade yourself and see how your company stacks up.
Mistake #1: Not Testing
While direct marketers mailing solo direct mail packages are pretty good at establishing a control and testing against it, many catalogers and Internet marketers are not. Each catalog ore-mail promotion is like producing a new control. In effect, every catalog is the control for the next mailing.
Merchandise is a mix of new and old items picked up from previous promotions. Covers, landing pages and layouts are new. Photography is a blend of old and new, and copy also is new or revised from a previous campaign or catalog.