Get on Track with Testing and Tracking

Today’s marketing campaigns prove to be even more effective when personalization and follow up are part of the plan.

Every year, the Print on Demand Initiative releases a new set of case studies. In this year’s crop, there are some really terrific ones to learn from. One with particularly broad application comes from a state tourism agency that put into play some of the best practices we love to see.

The agency’s goal was to boost state tourism, fire up traffic to its Website and test static versus personalized communications. To do this, it broke its list into a control group (static) and a personalized group. They maximized the effectiveness of this testing by doing it within the same list, with the same timing and within the same campaign.

The list came from the state’s Website, where prospective visitors were able to request information about traveling to the state. Visitors gave information, such as season of travel, region they planned to visit and activities of interest. This allowed the bureau to send out two sets of packages. The control group received traditional packets with a static travel guidebook and map. The personalized group contained these same materials, plus personalized booklets based on information given on the Website.

Variable information included the recipient’s name, plus customized copy and images based on their interaction with the Website. It also included local events scheduled during the season of the person’s intended visit.

Building 145,000 Variations
Depending on the number of questions answered by the visitor, more than 145,000 unique variations were possible. To track results, the tourism bureau sent recipients return postcards with questions about the effectiveness of the packets, plus additional questions about their travel plans. Follow-up calls from telemarketers attempted to quantify how much visitors spent once they completed their travel. The results? Those who received the personalized package were nearly 25% more likely to interact with the visitor’s bureau by returning the postcard, 73% said that the personalized pac age was helpful in planning their trip and those receiving the packets spent nearly 25% more during their trip.

Applying the Lessons
There are two lessons here marketers should take to heart.

1 Personalization works. That is never clearer than when marketers are willing to use control groups to create side-by-side tests. If you’re not doing side-by-side testing, it’s time to start.

2 Follow-up is essential to qualifying the success. By tracking dollars generated, you know exactly how much the program impacted your bottom line. It also helps you justify repeating the campaign in the future. Why do it if it doesn’t work? Testing, results measurement and follow-up. It’s a powerful one, two, three punch that speaks to the best in marketing.