Testing, The Dirty Dozen (1,848 words)
Typically, element tests are more aggressively engaged once a history of testing different breakthrough packages has evolved. A conscientiously engaged element-testing strategy should allow you to move your control to a higher, more profitable level.
Be sure, though, to isolate testing to one variable at time—otherwise you won't know which change (or combination thereof) produced the change in results.
Mistake #5: Using a General Agency
Direct response testing is as scientific as it is artistic. To entrust your testing program to a novice is begging for trouble. While the occasional large general-advertising agency will tout its direct marketing prowess, it's about knowing the rules and having experience.
Too many direct marketing novices concentrate on aesthetics, neglecting the offer and the copy. Remember, it doesn't have to be pretty to work. An experienced direct marketer, with hundreds of tests—successful and not-so-successful—to its credit should get you to the point of viable marketing results much sooner.
Mistake #6: Using one Agency (or Person) to Handle All Direct Response Testing
You can inflate your chances of success by spreading your testing dollars around. Use a variety of resources to test your direct mail creative, your lists, your telemarketing scripts and your opt-in e-mail campaign. Dedicating your entire testing budget to a single internal or external outlet not only will lead to eventual burnout of results, but will cost you in the form of huge opportunity dollars that are lost forever.
Mistake #7: Majoring in Minors
Too many direct marketers are hooked on testing minute package element variations—mail indicias, stamp treatments, color and texture of the envelope—only to find that the results change little.
This strategy is even more harmful when a company neglects to test new offers and new creative concepts as a result. Spend the most money on testing where the results matter most. If you're going to test the envelope treatment, test something significant, like going from a #10 envelope to a 9˝ x 12˝ flat package. Modify the contents strictly to fit the newer size and see what the consumer says through an applied, disciplined test.