Direct Selling: Testing 101
Your catalog has a control format, size, shape, number of pages, copy style, not to mention a brand you’ve nutured. Your Web site and e-mail campaigns also reflect the creative brand you’ve established in the mail. Offers that reflect your brand (e.g., free shipping, gift with purchase, discount or special pricing) should be consistent from mailing to mailing.
However, within this somewhat limited scope, successful multichannel marketers must take every opportunity to improve performance through testing. Success at the bank is the most important criterion for your direct mail, catalog and e-mail campaigns. The answer is not to give up on testing, but to think of ways to improve your results through testing with each customer or new contact.
Mistake #2: Not Testing the Big Things That Make a Difference
Smart marketers prioritize their testing to zero in on those things that will improve response rates and average order value, and ultimately that can change sales, profitability and even the business model. Here are the big things that should top your testing priority list:
• new formats;
• mix of customer contacts, e.g., catalogs, direct mail, “push” e-mails;
• the optimal number and timing of customer contacts by all media; and
• new products and new product categories.
Putting on your statistical hat, remember that to be pure a test needs to be mailed:
• to exactly the same audience segment, e.g., last 12 month, two-time, $150-plus lifetime sales buyers, or to prospects from the same list;
• at exactly the same time as the control;
• with no other variables except the test to impact the results; and
• testing one variable at a time.
Think about what will make the biggest difference in your next promotion and find ways to test the variables.
Mistake #3: Not Testing Creative