Leap and Repeat:
Accelerated Direct Mail Testing

27 November 2018 / By Jeff Tarran
A strategy to optimize campaign performance

Many companies that rely on digital channels for acquisition are testing into the direct mail channel for the first time—for good reason. Direct mail response and conversion rates are often higher than digital, and direct mail works across demos, from digitally savvy millennials  to older and other less digitally engaged targets.

Digital-first marketers who are used to ongoing, real-time testing are often frustrated that it takes more time to gather and analyze response to direct mail. For most clients, we are looking at a 30- to 60-day response window. Production and post office delivery timeframes add more time before we can act on results.

 

Leap-and-Repeat Means Faster Learning and Shorter Timeframes to Scale-up

 

Every marketer’s goal is to learn quickly to confidently scale up mailings to maximize efficiency and drive response. Leap-and-repeat does that by breaking testing priorities into multiple, manageable, affordable drops that overlap response periods.

The framework is simple. Once the marketing strategy is set, we do 3 pilot mailings over a 3-month period:

Drop 1 tests the executional variables most likely to impact response and budget.
For example: format, product positioning, and target testing.

Drop 2 tests other variables considered key to success.
For example: alternative offers, outer envelope copy, and additional target testing.

Drop 3 happens on the heels of the Drop 1 analysis.
We validate Drop 1 winner(s) by testing to a broader audience and inserting additional test variables to continue the learning.

We then work on a monthly validate-and-test model. This strategy has us rolling out by month 5. Strong results in early mailings have motivated some clients to roll out earlier, particularly when specific targets strongly overperform.

Benefits of Leap-and-Repeat

This pragmatic approach to testing benefits clients in a number of ways. It allows us to:

  • Quickly improve marketing performance with lower risk
  • Test multiple campaign elements relatively quickly to ensure the best approach
  • Mitigate performance fluctuations due to seasonality
  • Spread testing budgets and resources across months
  • Independently test and refine a re-mail audience
  • Adjust test plans based on early analysis for best results
  • Develop a response curve to predict channel deal flow

Importantly, leap-and-repeat keeps the direct marketing juices flowing. In almost every instance, we find deeper client engagement leading to more creative and strategic insights that improve mail performance.

One Final Note

If you’re interested in adding direct mail to your marketing mix, then drop us a line. We’re standing by to answer any questions, and, most importantly, to help you get your mail opened.

Jeff Tarran
About The Author

Jeff Tarran

As VP of Account Services, Jeff works with our clients to analyze business problems and develop direct marketing strategies that achieve their goals. A 20-year veteran and strategic thought leader in direct marketing, Jeff has headed two independent direct response agencies in the Bay Area after starting his career at Foote Cone and Belding. He earned a Dual BS in management and communications at Syracuse University and his MBA in marketing at Columbia University in New York.

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