Whether the objective is to increase leads or reduce costs—whether the channel is online or offline—we are often overloaded with more ideas than we have time or resources to test. Since each marketing campaign is an opportunity to learn and improve results, it’s important to maximize the efficiency of your testing by making the correct strategic choices when “all” isn’t a possibility.
As we all know, lists, targeting, segmentation, modeling, etc. are one of the most important components of a direct marketing program. Through years (OK, decades) of testing, I’ve come to realize that in nearly every client program there is a significant opportunity to improve results through the use of multiple data sources. The roots of this strategy trace back to the nonprofit industry, where organizations regularly rent multiple third-party lists for donation appeals in addition to their house file of past donors. These third-party lists are closely analyzed based on number of donations, average donation amount and total amount of donations. Underperforming lists are quickly eliminated from the campaign and new lists are constantly tested against the best performing list.
The landscape for small, medium and enterprise businesses and their marketers today may be the most challenging of our lifetime. Several factors have created this “perfect storm” for marketers; an economic recession, increased competition, evolving technology, emerging marketing channels, etc. Therefore, the discussion between CMO’s and CFO’s ultimately leads to the Return on Investment (ROI). However, measuring a true ROI can be challenging when considering all factors that impact this “nirvana” of marketing metrics—sales efficiency, operational overhead, pricing strategies, etc.
Whether the objective is to increase sales or reduce costs…the channel is online or offline, we are often faced with more ideas than we have time or budget to test. Since each marketing campaign is an opportunity to learn and improve results, it’s important that we are not overwhelmed with the concept of continuous testing.
Probably the most popular rule of thumb in direct marketing is 40/40/20 Rule. The rule states that the success of any DM program relies 40% on the data/list strategy, 40% on the offer and 20% on the creative/messaging approach. My experience is that this rule of thumb typically holds true and as a result, I spend most of my effort guiding clients to test and optimize their list and offer strategy. However, we certainly can’t ignore the last 20% and when it comes to DM campaigns (mail, email, DRTV, etc.) as there are many best practices that need incorporated to develop creative that is truly “effective” at driving the desired action.