Testing Hidden Markets (1,296 words)
But if you haven't done the research and the testing, you don't know whether your market is clustered around one peak or whether it has two or more significant segments that would each support different creative efforts and yield more than one package aimed at dead center.
The same package for everyone implicitly makes the assumption that the positioning, copy, graphics, format and premium offered in one package are optimum for every person you mail to: man/woman, young/old, high income/low income, urban/suburban/rural, heavy users/light users, amateur/expert, conservative/liberal, etc.
Is there any likelihood that such an assumption is accurate? Or is it more likely that at least one significant segment of your universe would respond more strongly to a package with a different caption or graphic on the carrier envelope? A letter with a different lead? Or different positioning? A brochure of a new design? Or the same package in a different size or format?
Testing to Create Different Controls
I'm not talking about A/B split testing to find the stronger of two packages (which is another aspect of segmentation), but rather of finding a basic differentiation between two major segments of the same market and creating a distinctive control package for each.
There are other examples of mailers who target distinct groups within their markets and the one that offers the clearest data is the Institute of Children's Literature, a home-study school. It initially focused its mailings on schoolteachers, the definable category from which it drew the largest percentage of students for its writing course, and results were marginal. Some years later, A/B split tests of premiums revealed two less distinct but larger groups of writers: aspirants, or "wannabees," and those who seemed to identify themselves as writers, whether or not they were published.
The Index premium actually depressed results among "wannabees" by 19 percent while it boosted results among "writers" by 28 percent for a swing of 45 points at a 95-percent confidence level. Copy was written to reflect these differences, an appropriate premium "How and Where to Sell Your Writing" was developed for the "wannabees" and response improved to 36 percent over control while it lost among "writers" by 10 percent; they apparently expected more or different information than they received.