Friday, August 10, 2007

Back to Basics - Direct Marketing Testing

It's been a long week (TGIF, by the way). My tiny, tired brain simply couldn't handle a slew of new ideas today. Instead, I wanted to focus on a standard principle in the world of Direct Marketing, and that is (drum roll, please)--testing. We all know we need to continuously test within our marketing campaigns. Test a new offer, a new list, a new channel, whatever--just make sure that your marketing is not getting in a rut, that you're constantly seeking new ideas and developing new strategies.

Of course, it IS easy to get in a rut--to go about business as usual. I think we've all probably felt that can predict the outcome of a test prior to implementation. And, usually we're right. If you've been doing this long enough, your gut instinct as to whether a campaign will be a success (or not) is usually on target. But, sometimes those pesky customers can surprise you. The time that the offer you thought couldn't be beat IS beat, and by an offer that doesn't seem all that attractive.

Or, when you think that the crazy new channel (like those streaming ads found in big-city elevators) won't be effective, and, lo and behold, you're getting new customers as a result of that media investment.

Just some examples of the real need to continuously test. Sometimes, however, implementing a test seems like just too much work. To spark some new testing ideas you may be interested in this article from today's "DM News": How to do direct marketing testing

It provides some basic (but valid) information on ways to implement dm tests. For example, the author (Arthur Middleton Hughes, long-time database marketing expert) gives a good definition of a control group. He also speaks to some of the measurement challenges and finishes the article with a testing checklist. All good info.

RRW also has spent some time thinking and writing on the subject of testing. Let us know if you'd like our Idea Paper, called RRW's Test and Learn Approach. It may spark some ideas of some new tests that you should implement. Just leave us a comment and we'll be happy to send you the paper.

Enjoy your weekend!

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