How to Test Direct Mail With Other Media

by Karen J. Marchetti

Direct Mail versus Print Ads

What if you wanted to test the effectiveness of direct mail versus print ads — and also the effect of direct mail working with a print ad?  You might set up a test matrix like this:

List               List               List                 List                   Pub               Pub

   A                  B                   C                     D                       E                    F

Mailer        10,000         10,000            10,000            10,000

Print Ad          Ad                Ad                                                                 Ad                 Ad

The above test grid shows a List test of 10,000 pieces per List, for each of 4 Lists (shown in the top row), all using one direct mail package (shown in left column).

  • List A and List B are Lists of subscribers to trade publications. Starting in the top row, and reading vertically (for Lists A and B), we can rent the List of subscriber names for direct mail, and insert a print ad into each publication, to test the effect of direct mail and a print ad together.
  • Note that we’re testing 2 publications in this mailer-and-print-ad combination test, to allow us to compare results from publication to publication for more accuracy.
  • List C and List D will be tested without any corresponding print ad, to test the results of mail alone. We’re using 2 Lists to allow us to compare results from List to List.
  • We’ll also run print ads in two additional publications (E and F), without any corresponding direct mail, to test the results of print ads alone. (We’re testing 2 publications for more accuracy.)

SMArt Tip:

A print ad success (successful positioning, headline, copy, Offer) tends to transfer well to direct mail, as well as to television.

A direct mail success rarely will translate well into a successful print ad.

From “How to Test Your Way to Direct Mail Success”, a 61-page eBook, published by Response FX® and Response Coach®.