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Testing, Testing…Yes, You Really Need To Do It

There is no question that personalized printing works. When done properly, it increases response rates, increases revenue per sale and increases customer loyalty. So how do you know you’re doing it properly? You take critical components of your campaign, such as creative, marketing message and database, and test them. This is what one financial institution did, and it reaped long-term benefits.

Alerus Financial, a North Dakota banking institution, wanted to boost new loan applications. It also wanted to answer two critical questions: Would varying the imagery by age demographic make its marketing more effective? Was the cost of tracking results worth the expense?

To answer these questions, Alerus created a variable campaign and broke it into three age demographics—25 to 35, 36 to 45, and 46 to 55—and altered the imagery to reflect each demographic group. It combined this demographic segmentation with personalized messaging. They used personalized URLs (PURLs) and trackable 800 numbers to measure response. At the same time, it sent a static mailer that used the same creative as the personalized pieces. Only a single toll-free number was used for responses. The offer was the same for the static and variable segments.

For its static campaign, Alerus received a response rate of less than 1%. The response rate for the variable campaigns was 3.67%. Now it knew that varying the imagery by age demographic worked.

By tracking results, it learned something else. It learned that the 25-to-35 age demographic was 23% more likely than the 36-to-45 age demographic and 51% more likely than the 46-to-55 age demographic to respond to this type of offer. When it comes to planning for future campaigns, this knowledge is invaluable. The cost of measuring results paid off.

So the quick take away is that testing is, in fact, worth the effort. Marketers looking to boost their results with variable printing should test all aspects of their campaigns. Test the message. Test the images. Test the incentive. Test the database. In many cases, it doesn’t cost more to do this testing—it just takes time and willingness. Yes, there will be additional cost for results measurement, but you should be doing that anyway. And the benefits can be more than worth it. So test away!

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