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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

A/B Testing Can Improve Your Direct Marketing Efforts

Last week, Marka and the FEI tribe learned how fire businesses can use online video to create stronger relationships with customers by engaging them directly. This week, the tribe discusses how A/B testing can help the company’s direct marketing campaigns experience better results. Remember, fire = print.

One rainy afternoon, Org, Marka and Numo entered the office to find Zoot playing with a brown-and-white bulldog.

“What’s with the pooch?” Org asked.

“I heard we were doing a rabies test today,” Zoot answered. “Thought I’d bring in ol’ Noot to make sure he wasn’t infected.”

Marka slapped her hand to her forehead. “Zoot, we said we were doing an A/B test today, not a rabies test. As direct marketers, we should always be asking ourselves, ‘How can we make our campaigns more effective?’ A/B testing allows us to continually fine-tune our campaign based on what’s been proven to garner better results.”

“How does it work?” Zoot asked.

“We split the campaign into two groups—the A control segment and the B test segment,” Marka explained. “The B marketing is exactly the same as the A except for one variable we change. Then we distribute the A and B pieces to two different but equal- and substantial-size recipient groups. The proper tracking we implemented on both groups will allow us to clearly determine which one’s more effective at getting responses. If the B group shows a better response rate, it becomes our new control.”

“Then our next campaign will test the new A control against a new B test,” Zoot said. “I get it. It’s almost like a ‘March Madness’ bracket of different direct marketing campaigns. After enough different A/B trials, the most effective campaign will end up on top.”

“Exactly,” Marka confirmed.

Let’s make it real,” Org said. “Give me a couple of examples of how FEI can use A/B testing to improve our direct marketing strategy.”

“Our last promotional O-mailer offered recipients a pair of tickets to the Olympus FireFestival when they purchased two or more ‘Olympiad’ torches,” Marka noted. “Next time, we could test giving away a pack of Lucy’s new matches instead and see whether that promotion outperforms the reigning control group.”

“I get it,” Zoot started, “if this new offer sells more, then it’ll become the new A piece.” 

“Then we can test it against a new B message that offers, say, a free sales call from Zoot!” Numo suggested with excitement.

“That’s interesting, Numo,” Marka said dismissively. “Of course, the offer is just one of many components we can change up. Others include:
  • Copy text/header
  • Images
  • Layout
  • Design colors used
  • Time sent (for O-mail)

“Good talk, tribe,” Marka concluded. “Let’s reconvene next week and we’ll discuss three keys to A/B testing success.”

Today’s FIRE! Point
A/B testing allows printing companies to fine-tune their direct marketing campaigns based on what has proven to garner better results. A/B testing involves splitting the campaign into two groups—the A control segment and the B test segment. The B marketing is exactly the same as the A except for one changed variable. Then the A and B pieces are distributed to two different but equal- and substantial-size recipient groups. If the B group does better, it becomes the new A control. There are many elements an A/B test can change up, including the offer, design, copy, etc.

A/B Testing in Action
Hyundai Uses Control-Variable Testing to Increase Website Conversion Rates

The Korean car maker used A/B testing to evaluate different elements on its landing page in order to determine which combination worked best. The test helped it to increase requests for test drive by 62 percent and realize a 208 percent increase in clickthroughs.

Next week: The FEI tribe discusses three keys to A/B testing success.

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