Unfortunately, not every direct marketing strategy or campaign is a success. When things go south, there is usually no shortage of opinions on what the culprit was. But in all my years of experience, the number one reason a direct marketing strategy failed – or at least didn’t reach its full potential – is limiting the amount of testing across campaigns.
We’ve all been in those meetings where everyone does their best Sherlock Holmes impression, certain their theory on what went wrong is correct. One person speculates it was the result of poor data. Another is confident the campaign is showing clear signs of package fatigue. Someone else is convinced the specific channel did work and it’s really just an attribution problem.
Without a sound testing strategy, all you’re left with are these types of best guesses and gut feelings, which is no way to analyze or improve a direct marketing campaign. Implementing a sound testing strategy requires a commitment to establishing a “test and learn” approach that will keep your brand on a path of continual improvement by identifying performance trends that enable fact-based decision making regarding channel selection and budget allocation.
Dedicating a portion of the budget to testing is absolutely critical. For instance, make it a priority to test and analyze 20% of your mail volume. You’ll be amazed at the insights you discover. It’s also important to engage a marketing company with a proven process and testing methodology, not just cool creatives and shiny objects.
Making this commitment is transformational. Establishing benchmarks with measurable results will put you on the road to success. You’ll be able to develop a stable of champion packages that can be rotated to reduce package fatigue. And you’ll discover the next innovative idea with reduced risk of failure. In short, you take the guesswork out, so the important decisions on which channels and which creative to use become elementary.
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