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A Digital Revolution to Testing Direct Mail

August 27, 2019

Testing methodology helps your direct mail better engage with healthcare consumers

Engaging the empowered healthcare consumer isn’t easy. Anticipating the needs and behaviors of the patients, members and other stakeholders takes careful testing. But testing can be a budget and timeline breaker, especially when it comes to direct mail.

Testing is essential to direct mail success. Adequate testing includes examining which headlines, copy, colors, layouts, and images will produce the greatest response. But the cost of testing direct mail, not to mention the opportunity cost, can be enormous.

Current direct mail testing practices is too much like email

The way we test email and direct mail are quite similar. Marketers split mailing lists into A/B lists, send the deliverables to these lists, then compare responses based on variables such as layout, colors, images and messages.

While testing printed direct mail is laborious and expensive, testing direct response email is low-cost and fast. This is true because digital environments automate production, delivery and response, which are the slow, expensive parts of printed mail.

But most of what marketers want to test about their printed direct mail is in the realm of design and content. Why not use digital environments to automate production, delivery and response for printed mail?

Testing is essential to direct mail success, but the cost of testing direct mail—not to mention the opportunity cost—can be enormous.

The future of direct mail testing

Digital preference testing can accomplish much of what a traditional A/B test can accomplish and can provide results for printed mail in much less time.

Quad uses technology that engages groups of respondents according to demographics, psychographics and sociocultural factors. From these groups, the technology develops consumer panels representing every possible iteration of your healthcare target audience. Then it tests up to 20 variables in your campaign at once to determine the deliverable that will provide the greatest response and the strongest return on marketing investment.

Reviewing up to 20 variables at a time gives you the ability to test up to 1,200 permutations of a message in a fraction of the time. When tests are completed in less time and the number of live tests is reduced, costs can be reduced by up to 90 percent.

If you can use pixels and megabytes rather than paper and ink to get a 25 percent lift in response, that’s a strategy worth banking on

Does digital preference testing of printed material work?

The benefit of a traditional printed test is that it measures responses in the right environment. Respondents are presumably picking up their mail, flipping through it, seeing something that interests them, reading, then replying. But if you’re testing six or 10 variables, completing such a test can take months or even years.

While it’s true that digital preference testing can’t allow for a true “real world” test environment, the ability to test so many variables so quickly more than makes up for that disadvantage. We have found that response rates are lifted by 18 to 27 percent.

Deliver content that motivates healthcare decision-makers to act

Marketing in the healthcare industry has one job: engaging an empowered consumer. If you can use pixels and megabytes rather than paper and ink and get a 25 percent lift in response, that’s a strategy worth banking on. Digital testing platforms are the future of direct mail testing, because they promise to keep direct mail effective and cost effective.

When you’re ready to save valuable time to market and significant testing, contact us.