Testing Hidden Markets (1,296 words)
The duality of the market has been confirmed in many other tests. One of these was a simple "YES" peel-off label on the order card. Both "wannabees" and "writers" responded positively, but 44 percent more "writers" enrolled.
A test of carrier envelopes (one with a cartoon vs. one without) showed that "writers" were slightly negative about the cartoon image—perhaps more serious about writing—while "wannabees" preferred it by 108 percent.
In two different tests of the "Growing Up" concept (a simulated children's book with the addressee's name as the "author"), "writers" responded by enrolling at a rate of 24 percent and 37 percent higher than "wannabees" who apparently were less able to project themselves as authors of children's books.
A similar, but parallel, development took shape at The Children's Writer, the institute's newsletter. Enrolled students, inquirers and outside lists were each mailed packages with significant copy differences when it became clear that they would not all climb into the same black Model T at the same rate.
An old marketing rule of thumb states that 20 percent of customers account for 80 percent of a product's sales and even more of its profits. Is it possible that your "20 percent" and your "80 percent" would each give you more sales and profits if each segment received a different package tailored to its distinct characteristics?
How Rented Lists Can Help Your Research
You may well ask, "How do I determine whether or not there are two or more distinct segments within my market that would respond better if each were tested separately?"
There are a variety of research techniques available to help you answer the question but you may already be aware of clustering of results from your rented mailing lists. If not, put them in rank order according to their average performances over a series of mailings. Look for clusters of similarity between lists—according to how the names got on the list, the product or service offered, price, terms and type of offer used to generate the inquiry or sale, categories of media used, and any other factor that suggests that the people on one list came from "a different place" and are demographically or psychographically different from those on another list. Then select the strongest of all the differences you find, the ones that suggest different positioning, or a significant copy or design variation. Focus your analysis on the bottom half of your lists because your control is presumably doing well among your top lists.