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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.

Using A/B Testing to Determine the Best Marketing Channel

Last week, Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) marketing whiz Marka gave head honcho Org and savvy salesperson Zoot tips for putting FEI’s “Why” message to use in marketing communications. This week, Marka discusses how doing A/B testing in different marketing channels can help FEI determine which is most effective. Remember, fire = print.

Marka walked into Org’s office one morning. Org looked up from his work. “What’s up, Marka?” he asked.

“I’m concerned about FEI’s broadcast O-mail marketing efforts,” Marka said. “Over the past three months, our open and click-through rates have declined to historic lows. It’s been several months since we’ve gotten any new clients from O-mail.”

“That is a problem,” Org agreed. “What’s the solution?”

“Let’s compare O-mail with different marketing channels to see which works best,” Marka said. “We can run an A/B test campaign that compares broadcast O-mail and direct mail. The offer, list and creative elements will be identical in both communications. The only element that will change, obviously, will be the delivery channel.”

“How exactly will we measure which channel performs best?” Org asked.

“We’ll create distinct, trackable landing pages for both the O-mail and postcard campaigns that will allow us to see how many recipients respond, and how many take a desired final action,” Marka explained.

“Impressive,” Org said. “I approve this idea. I look forward to seeing how it turns out.”

Marka and her marketing tribe put together an identical O-mail and postcard promoting FEI’s newly launched MatchTastic match. After both campaigns had concluded, Marka compiled the results and presented them to the tribe at the weekly marketing meeting.

Response Rate 4.3% 2.9%
Cost per Response (in Drachmas)     

“Despite having a higher total cost, the postcard campaign resulted in a lower cost per response—i.e., visiting the initial landing page on FEI’s O-site—by a wide margin,” Marka pointed out.

“Interesting,” Org said. “So what’s the takeaway from this campaign?”

“From this testing, we can conclude that direct mail may be more cost-effective than many people think,” Marka observed. “Many businesses have reduced or abandoned their direct mail efforts because of the higher price tag. Total cost matters, but so do cost-per-impression and cost-per-response metrics. And in these areas, direct mail has proven more cost-effective than its O-mail peers.”

“The important thing is that this information will help us make better marketing decisions in the future,” Org said.

“Darn straight,” Zoot agreed.

Today’s FIRE! Point
Running an A/B test comparing email and direct mail campaigns can help determine which marketing channel works best for your business. Creating distinct, trackable landing pages for each channel will enable you to measure and compare response rates.

FIRE! in Action: Marketing Sherpa Uses A/B Testing to Determine the Best Email Call-to-Action Message
In marketing communications, even the smallest details can make the difference between a mediocre and exceptional response rate. Marketing research website Marketing Sherpa conducted an A/B/ test with three slightly different calls to action—the best-performing one generated more than 9 percent more click-throughs.

Next week: Marka shows Zoot how to use an “unbelievable guarantee” to secure new customers.

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