There are breakthroughs lurking in all of our businesses. They are in the mind of someone in your organization and are just dying to get out there to be tested.
One of the things I love about being in the direct marketing industry is the relative ease and low cost of testing. As responsible catalogers, we should test something in every mailing. “Test, test, test” is my mantra for catalogers. By testing you might find ways to cut expenses, achieve incremental revenue or dramatically alter the course and performance of your business. But to find ‘em, you gotta test ‘em.
In this article, I’ll discuss several ideas to test in your upcoming mailings and hopefully get your juices flowing for more great tests in the near future.
Before I discuss the ideas, let’s examine some important testing habits.
Prioritize. Be sure you’re working on the “big” ideas. Test important things that really can make a difference in your results, and continue to reprioritize as you go.
Make it a clean test. Test one thing at a time and keep it as simple as possible. One of the most common testing errors is having too many variables in the test. Another is failing to have a good control. You must be able to isolate and identify the one thing you’re testing and ensure that nothing else is happening in the control to skew the results.
Roll out a winner. Be absolutely sure you can afford to implement the results. We’ve seen companies test ideas they wouldn’t be comfortable rolling out because of additional capital investments required or even because of company cultural issues. If you can’t or won’t roll it out, don’t waste time and money testing it.
Share the plan. Make sure everyone understands the hypothesis being tested and what will happen next with either a positive or negative result. Before the test is mailed, ensure everyone agrees that the creative or marketing execution will enable you to interpret the results.