Direct Mail Testing: Why Good is Never Good Enough — And How to Keep Getting Better

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About the Author

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Marcus Johnson

Marcus is a Senior Writer who blends creative writing and idea generation to bring copy to life for leading financial services organizations, professional sports teams, healthcare, and outdoor brands. The question this University of Minnesota graduate and former winner of the Best in Show from the National AgriMarketing Association loves to ask is, “How can I help?” When he’s not pounding out copy, he loves doing yard work, especially leaf blowing. In sports, Marcus cheers for the Humboldt Broncos, the Canadian hockey team that lost 10 players in a 2017 bus crash.

Do you ever get the feeling we live in a “what have you done for me lately” world? Maybe it’s not a feeling for you; it’s your reality.

If your work is measured in any meaningful way — and more is these days since data makes the world go ‘round — you could find yourself thinking that good is never good enough. That might be true, but there is an upside. Direct mail testing is a good example of how measurement is a positive.

The Mantra of Direct Mail: When Good Isn’t Good Enough, Test to Get Better

Direct mail is all about measuring. We constantly track response to gauge the quality and effectiveness of an offer and how it’s presented. But how do we know what to change to make the performance of a particular direct mail package better? We test and test again.

Our direct mail testing process can range from simple (change the look or messaging of an outer envelope) to quite complex (conduct an MVT or multivariate test in which multiple variables are altered — from outer envelope to letter form to inserts — to find the combination that yields optimal results). Done with strategic intent, just about any test will yield valuable information that helps improve the performance of a direct mail package. So, when someone claims, “This direct mail package isn’t good enough,” you can say, “Let’s test!”

The Rewards of Direct Mail Testing

A recent post by my colleague, Reid Holmes, announced that IWCO Direct’s Marketing Creative Services team had been recognized by the International ECHO Awards with the 2022 USPS Gold Mailbox Award. What propelled us to winning that award was applying a potent combination of data insights and testing to the direct mail and digital campaigns of our healthcare client.

Simply put, we made “good enough” better. Significantly better! Our multichannel, multi-touch campaign, spearheaded by targeted direct mail and supported by companion digital channels, yielded conversion rates 77 percent above projections, and we reduced the client’s CPA (cost per acquisition) by 60 percent, far exceeding their goal of 20 percent.

Not “What Have You Done for Me Lately?” but “What Can We Do for You Now?”

If 50-percent-better direct mail results sound like a good business plan to you, then we invite you to have a conversation with us about our approach to direct mail testing. Every marketing dollar counts these days. Improving the performance of your direct mail channel by that much is more than enough to satisfy the “good isn’t good enough” crowd. So contact IWCO Direct. We’ll get you on the fast track to strategically planned, data-driven, performance-tested direct mail.

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