Contributions to Profit: The Art and Science of Testing
The client at that point was willing to lose a bit more up front to increase sales and put out a sharper-looking product. Eventually, the increased costs would catch up with it, however, as the business suffered and the paper grade had to be scaled back. Therein lies the moral of the story: Many times even scientific tests succumb to the subjective.
There are infinite varieties of tests that can be configured, measured and ultimately interpreted. Some of these tests may be profitable — and some may not.
Some suggestions for effective testing:
• Test against something. Your current catalog, e-mail, Web site, merchandise, etc., is your control.
• Create a test hypothesis. Use this example: If we do “X,” we expect “Y” to occur.
• Always set up logical tests based on scientific principles. Test one variable at a time. If you test more than one, you’ll never know which one made the difference.
• Always do your math up front. Get all expenses in advance of the test and set up a pro forma profit and loss and break-even analysis.
• Always do the math at the end. Before the artistic, interpretive side of testing begins, have the math in front of you. Many times the numbers will drive the decision.
• Recency. Test the most recent names for a new list test. If your list seems to be working, test older segments of the list. Test average order size test selects. Test new lists in your category and outside names.
• Creative and printing variables. Paper, trim size, pages, formats, photography, copy, ink-jet messages, cover
versions, dot whacks, inserts.
• Offer variables. Gift with purchase, dollar or percentage off, free shipping, etc.
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.