The November 2009 issue of our ‘Sample of the Month’ direct mail case study features our client Tricycle Magazine and their test of a triple postcard with tipped-in BRE versus a standard multi-component #10 control package.
Tricycle worked with Next Steps Marketing, their circulation marketing services partner, to execute this test with Ballantine handling the printing and mailing portion of the project.
The triple postcard with tipped-in BRE measures 7″ wide by 5″ high and the back panel carrying the address also has a full block of imaged copy. The #10 control package contains 5 components: 4-page letter, reply card, brochure, buckslip and BRE.
CLICK HERE for pictures of the triple postcard and #10.
For this case study newsletter, we asked Mike Popalardo, Principal at Next Steps Marketing, the following questions…
How did the triple postcard w/ BRE perform overall and how did it perform versus the #10 control package?
The TPC did not perform nearly as well on the gross response. Comparing this test panel of 10K against the same mailing quantity and list configuration for the control piece (verification panel), data shows the upfront response was about 22% less — this carried through to the net response which showed a decrease of about 20%. However, the package excelled in overall pay-up, out-performing the #10 control package by 4% points and the cash with order was higher as well. We received 18% more cash with the TPC than we did with the #10 package. Obviously, this means less bills needed to be sent.
What was the circulation marketing strategy behind the triple postcard?
The idea was to present a format in the market that was substantially different from anything Tricycle had mailed in the past. The list universe is relatively stable and it’s likely we might be seeing some package fatigue in the market. Additionally, if the test were to win, the personalized addressing block would also allow us to more easily segment out various lists and communicate with those groups in a more direct manner (eg — expires might receive a special “welcome back” appeal.) Finally, since double postcards are notoriously soft in backend pay-up we believed that a 3 panel card would provide more real estate to promote and the inclusion of a BRE would allow for a greater degree of paid with order.
Now that the test campaign’s results are finalized, what are your plans for the next mailing?
We have not finalized plans for our next test. Given the strength of pay-up and cash with order Tricycle may consider retesting the TPC format with a different appeal from the “Calm Your Mind” approach we took with this effort. Using this format with a more traditional appeal may restore the gross response. Another test we might consider is softening slightly the payment request to see if we can increase gross response.
What lessons did you learn from this mailing or what surprised you the most about the mailing?
We had hoped that the TPC format would be seen as less “daunting” to the recipient and that the new format would spur people who had received earlier mailings from Tricycle to take action in larger numbers. Unfortunately, we did not see the lift in gross response we had hoped to see but we believe this may be attributable to the appeal (a #10 version of this appeal did not lift response either) rather than a function of the format. We were pleasantly surprised by the cash with order and overall pay-up.
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