Testing Mailing Lists

June 15, 2011 by
Filed under: Direct Marketing Lists 

There should always be one test that is from “outside the box” thinking, a list that can be a game-changer. But first, exhaust all the possibilities—and if that means asking a new broker to look at the results with a fresh set of eyes, then do it.

You have to keep an open mind when looking at prospect lists. Many mailers will dismiss a file just because “they know it will not work” without reviewing any of the material available.

Use all the information to make a good, concise decision. Review the data card, usage, catalog and web site. The ultimate goal of a mailer is to identify the largest profitable segment of names that can be mailed. We’ve all seen lists that performed much better than was originally anticipated. Staying in your comfort zone could limit your universe and ultimately, profits.

One is simply competitive advantage.

If you only test lists which are clearly within your field of specialty, inevitably, you will encounter fatigue and saturation at some point. Opportunity for success is the most important reason to test outside your comfort zone.

Out-of-the-box test ideas can turn into gold mines

A mortgage company testing American automobile owners for a refinance program, a Catholic charity testing a veterans file for donations, a luxury furniture chain testing a previously high net worth bankruptcy list—all things that are outside of a traditional comfort zone that turned into very successful targeting opportunities for the companies bold enough to test creative list ideas.

A campaign without tests outside of the core customer segmentation, channel or creative / message / offer is not worth measuring.

Although this is an extreme opinion, marketers must always reserve a percentage of their campaign budget for unconventional tests. Without testing, marketers will not be able to expand their footprints, create new audiences or keep up with their competition.

Targeting the same type of customers, in the same channel, with the same creative/message/offer can cause attrition in the overall customer file as well as decreased growth year after year.

With the evolution of technology, changes in how we make purchases today, and how individuals relate to one another, the tried and true methods of marketing need to be supplemented with new innovations to be successful.

List and offer account for 70% of the effectiveness of any direct marketing campaign.

So list selection is critical. Always be open to testing various lists, because your potential prospects will reside in many databases, not just a few. Also, take into account the possibility of list fatigue. The more you mail to a single list in a given year, the fewer responses you will receive.

Direct marketing’s greatest asset is its capacity to provide accurate measures of results—and your ability to tie those results back to a single element within a campaign. What I do is help technical services businesses increase sales, keep more customers, and generate more qualified leads. Specializing in complex business-to-business environments.

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