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.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
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