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) 30 78

“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.

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
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