marketer doing direct marketing test ideas

6 Direct Mail Testing Ideas for Marketers in 2023

Consumer buying habits changed drastically over the past few years, not only in what they buy, but how. What this means for marketers is that they need to reconsider what has worked in the past and adjust it moving into the future. Now that we are in a “post-pandemic world,” brands looking to find a new way to engage consumers need to consider launching or revisiting direct mail as a part of that strategy. This articles shares 6 direct mail testing ideas for you to explore.

Before we dive in, here are a few interesting facts about direct response mail:

  • 70% of consumers say direct mail is more personal than online interactions.
  • 54% of consumers say they want direct mail from brands that interest them.
  • Direct mail response rates are 5-9x’s higher than any other advertising channel.
  • 62% of consumers who responded to direct mail in the past three months made a purchase.
  • 39% of consumers try a business for the first time because of direct mail.

So, if you’re looking to introduce your brand, become more personalized, and drive top-line revenue – consider some of these testing strategies in 2023.

1 – Life Event Triggers 

Engaging your customers with meaningful, relevant messaging that catches their attention. It’s personal. It speaks to their needs and generates a response. Whether moving to a new house, a life event such as having a baby, an engagement, or a milestone birthday, your message can generate incremental activity within your potential and existing consumer base.


2 – Frequency / Fatigue Testing & Analysis

It would be nice if the first time we messaged someone they responded. Just like how we have to “bump” internal emails requiring a response to the top of an inbox every so often, customers need to be reminded that you’re there and ready to help. Test the impact of sending one, two, or three more messages within a reasonable timeframe to your target audience and assess the impact response has on marketing expense. A successful test will tell you where to draw the line with several outreach contacts to maximize return.


3 – Offline Retargeting

If you tag your website, you likely can re-target your inbound web leads across digital platforms. You’ve also probably entertained the idea of offline retargeting via direct mail but felt put off by the low overall match rate and the high overall cost per impression.

Things have changed in the past few years. In 2023, Identity Resolution (a data integration procedure that correlates a customer’s online actions with their distinct identity by collecting diverse datasets and identifying subtle connections) has come a long way, and it is a lot easier to pull those web leads out of a digital environment and get in front of them with a physical mail piece, email, or phone call.

It’s also worth mentioning that the offline retargeting space has recently gotten a lot more democratized. You can now work with one partner for identity resolution, a different partner for print fulfillment, and a tertiary partner for post-campaign analysis.


4 – Multi-Channel Engagement

An oldie but goodie for direct mail testing. The general hypothesis supporting multi-channel engagement is that if something works in one channel, it’s possible that it works in other channels and that the increased frequency of your message will generate a greater overall response. 

Test complementing existing impressions with alternative channels – if you’re in print, test digital, or vice versa – and measure the resulting cost vs. benefit. The ideal outcome is that integrating additional channels will generate a greater response at a flat or favorable marketing investment.


5 – Offer Segmentation / Testing

As marketers, we are tasked with a lot. Among other things, we are charged with maximizing return on marketing spend, and offer productivity and profitability are very impactful at supporting this goal. Consider targeting those customers that shop all the time with a less margin-intensive offer and see if they respond at the same rate. Alternatively, test a larger offer to those customers that shop more infrequently to get them back through the door or on the website sooner. If the average spend is low, give the customer a threshold offer (like $20 off of $100) to get a higher value order.


6 – Shared Mail

If you’re looking to do direct mail testing, but perhaps don’t want to incur the time and money investment, shared mail is a great way to test the channel and see if there is a directional response. 

Shared mail is where you would join other complementary brands in one package to increase your impressions while decreasing overall direct mail costs.

 There are a lot of iterative direct mail testing strategies that may come from the ideas above. You’ve likely also tested one or all of them in the past. Our final advice is that if it’s been a while since your last in-market test, it’s worth testing again. As time passes and the dust left by the pandemic settles, consumer behavior keeps evolving.

Testing will help your brand leverage and understand these changes. If you don’t know where to get started, connect with us! At Speedeon, we are here to guide your data and testing marketing campaigns with our top expertise.

Check out this article by Hollie Fearer for even more insight into the do’s and don’ts of direct marketing testing.

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