Creative Enhanced by Marketing Analytics

by Barb Cote on March 17, 2010

Barb Cote

Barb Coté

As a Creative Director, I spent 15 years working at a general agency before dipping my toe into direct marketing.  I still believe that brand equity is king, but I’ve been bitten by the “Direct Marketing Bug” and there is no cure. I love the advantage that analytical insights provide when designing creative, and the opportunities they provide for constant improvement.

Here’s a real-life example:

One of our clients, a major appliance manufacturer, offered extended warranty coverage on a range of appliances via an ongoing direct mail program. Customers were notified that their original factory warranty was about to lapse and were offered the opportunity to purchase additional coverage. The manufacturer had been marketing the same way for several years, and had been getting consistently acceptable results.

We suggested that they let us do some creative testing. First, we took a closer look at the customer base using strategic profiling that helps tease out insights that might be useful for creative development. Upon examination, we discovered several identifiable groups (or segments) that might benefit from a more individual messaging approach.

We targeted customers with a recently expired (or soon to expire) warranty, or who had received recent service calls on their appliance. Consideration was also given to whether the customer owned multiples of the client’s brand of appliances.

We tested multiple creative elements like the length of letter, teaser on the OE, and the inclusion of a brochure. We worked closely with our analytics team to set up a test and control matrix to make sure the results could be clearly analyzed and we could really tell which components made the difference in response conversion. Testing different offers is another great way to yield better results.

In our test for our client, three of the five test cells outperformed the control package. The winning test package increased conversion by more than 15%, and return on investment by 17%!

The “acceptable” response rates the client had been satisfied with for years no longer looked so appealing!  We find over and over that a commitment to continuous testing by utilizing analytic and creative best practices — with the creative and analytics folks working together as a team— can consistently lower cost per acquisition and increase ROI.

About the Author:

Barb Coté serves as the Creative Director at SIGMA Marketing Group.  Connect with Barb on or follow her on .

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