Smart Targeting Optimization

The Power of Testing and Optimization in Direct Mail Marketing

3 Min Read
by Amanda Boughey

In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, the journey to success is paved with insights drawn from meticulous testing and fine-tuned optimization strategies. What was once considered a simple A/B testing approach has now evolved into a multi-dimensional exploration of possibilities. Welcome to the realm of testing and optimization, where empirical insights meet data-driven decision-making to unlock unparalleled growth and innovation.

Traditionally, A/B testing involved comparing two versions of a campaign and selecting the more successful one for implementation. However, in the dynamic world of modern marketing, such simplicity is often inadequate. Here at Postie, we work with clients to transcend the binary A/B testing philosophy and venture into the realm of A/B/C/D/E/F/G… Each iteration of testing represents a unique angle of assessment, creating a nuanced understanding of what resonates with the audience.

Our Head of Data Science, Dr. Nicholas Tyris, often sheds light on this topic by explaining the critical concepts of ‘Exploit’ and ‘Explore’. These concepts, borrowed from the realm of mathematical optimization, drive the testing strategy. ‘Exploit’ involves allocating the majority of resources to what is already working – the proven models, clusters, and creatives. ‘Explore,’ on the other hand, reserves a portion of the budget for targeted experimentation, seeking out untapped opportunities and moments to capitalize on. Ultimately, a testing strategy must blend tried-and-true tactics with a willingness to explore uncharted territory.

Use Case: Testing and Optimization in Action

Let’s explore how a leading home renovation company’s skepticism about direct mail’s efficacy versus digital efforts led to great direct mail marketing success. 

The concern around direct mail versus digital marketing mirrors common concerns among most marketers. But for our client, through persistent testing and optimization, these doubts were dispelled. The process began with cautious steps, testing two lookalike models against each other. With each campaign, lessons were learned, models refined, and creative elements experimented with. The secret sauce? Consistent communication and collaboration among experts, ensuring that the strategy remained aligned with goals.

A significant twist in the tale came with the onset of the pandemic. This unprecedented disruption forced a rapid shift in marketing strategies. Many companies struggled to adapt their marketing campaigns during that time. Yet, the company’s commitment to continuous testing paid off and they saw less of a downturn than most during that time. By analyzing recent buyer behavior during the pandemic, they could tailor their messaging and targeting effectively. The flexibility born from frequent testing enabled them to seize opportunities and scale their efforts when the timing was right.

The success of this case study was also attributed to the company’s decision to send direct mail frequently. They recognized that more data translated to more informed decisions, allowing them to craft the winning formula faster. It’s a testament to the symbiotic relationship between testing and optimization – the former fuels the latter’s success. Though holiday focused, we discuss the benefits of mail frequency in our 2023 Holiday Playbook. (Take a look!)

Much like a machine learning algorithm that thrives on more data, marketing strategies too need a constant influx of insights to flourish.

In a world where change is constant and customers’ preferences are fluid, testing and optimization stand as beacons of success. The journey involves embracing the duality of ‘Exploit’ and ‘Explore’, learning from every iteration, and committing to continuous improvement. So, as you embark on your own marketing journey, remember the power of testing and optimization – your roadmap to unlocking unprecedented growth and realizing untapped potential. 

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