Taking Risks, Increasing Response
In an A/B split test, the new creative showed an impressive 60 percent increase in response over the prior control, and a retest a few months later confirmed those results.
A Model Client
American List Counsel (ALC) of Corte Madera, Calif., was chosen as the list broker of choice through an RFP process. ALC Executive Vice President Laurie Cole and Vice President of Data Acquisition Rachel Mercer suggested using modeling to give Assurity Direct the opportunity to mail to bigger universes.
Assurity Direct had used modeling in the past with unimpressive results, but Hawkins didn't let past problems influence his decision to try modeling again. "We'd always not had good results, but it's one of those things that you research and you know it can work and it's frustrating because it isn't working," he says. "I figured that it wasn't working because there wasn't enough communication between the list provider, our IT and the consultant."
The first step was to find and test modeling firms. "We had a copy of Assurity's best customer file—responders and converters," says Mercer. "We sent them to various sources, and then had meetings to look at where [the records] matched. It was like a reality check: If we sent 100,000 best customers to company X, what did they tell us they looked like?" If company X's results matched what Assurity and ALC already knew, the company was asked to build a model based on that information. "We felt confident going into the model that they had a good idea who our customer was," says Mercer.
What was interesting to Assurity and ALC was that their target markets are "heavily into the Bible and their faith—but they also have a sweepstakes and gambling mentality," says Hawkins. The companies also learned something that greatly influenced the creative of the direct mail package. Before, Assurity had always emphasized being able to provide for a spouse in its copy; but according to the modeling results, many of its prospects were actually single moms caring for their kids and grandmothers caring for their grandchildren. This insight led to new creative, which is to be tested this month, and will emphasize providing for kids and grandkids.