The Grand Controls - A History
Every mailer knows that when testing new mailings the initial response from a new package will often look good, maybe even beat the present control. But we all know that may be a statistical fluke; in a rollout, the old control will stand. So please remember all these winners have stood the test of time. They have been mailed over at least a period of three years...
A few of the winners have already been beaten, replaced by new controls. That's also how it should be.
The important thing is to study the difference between the old control and the new control and learn from the differences.
Going through the library of mail samples is an extraordinary experience, especially when you come across a mailing that had receipt dates scrawled all over it going back a number of years. These are the ones to study!
What is to be learned from these winners?
Lots. For example:
•Over the years I noted Emily Soell's launch package for Condé Nast Traveler. While the guts of the mailing remained the same for many years, the color of the outer envelope kept changing. Turns out every time the mailing began to flag, a change of envelope color perked it right back up. If you don't have continual envelope tests in the mail, you absolutely should!
•Have you taken a fresh look at your old controls? In over a decade of mail watching, I have noticed that a number of control mailings have disappeared, only to show up in the mail after a two- or three-year rest. This is currently the case with Nightingale-Conant. You may well find that dusting off a successful control from several years back, changing the offer and updating the premiums will knock the socks off the current effort you are struggling with.