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Direct Marketing Testing Part 4: The Creative

This series explains The Verdi Group’s testing philosophy and provides important facts about testing in business-to-business direct marketing. Part Four is dedicated to testing your creative concept.

By now, you understand how important testing is. While our previous posts have given much attention to testing your list and offer, one other element is often overlooked. Your response piece’s creative aspect may not be the most important component to test, but if it’s properly done, it can leave a long-lasting impression and have a favorable impact on your brand.

When it comes to direct mail marketing and advertising, The Verdi Group is known for creating award-winning designs with intriguing copy that tells a unique story. But how do we do it? By testing, measuring results, and applying what we learn. 

Creative 101

Any great artist has much to consider before he or she even picks up a paint brush. At Verdi, our first step is to collect information. Who is our target audience? What’s the SMIP? What’s the offer? How much money do we have to work with? These are just some of the important questions we need to answer before we create.

Once you’ve covered the bases mentioned above, the next step is to come up with a clear, compelling, and original concept. It can be a challenge to develop a one-of-a-kind design that’s neither boring nor overwhelming. If it’s visually appealing, provides enough information about your product or service, and has a strong call to action, you’re on the right track.

Testing your creative concept  

A new product launch is an excellent time to test your creative, because when the campaign is all said and done with no testing conducted, you have zero data available to help you better understand your audience.

But what should you test? Test big creative ideas against equally exciting ideas that take an alternative point of view. Test high-impact mailings versus simple letters. Test involvement devices, die cuts, pop-ups, and premiums. Test formats such as self-mailers versus envelope mailings. Test four-color versus two-color process. The options are endless!

Remember to do the math when counting response, conversion, and revenue to determine if the greater expenditure was worth it. The goal is to determine which format, copy, and offer pull better. Then try to eliminate the less important elements of the piece to cut costs. Your end-product will be more responsive, cost effective, and profitable.

A final word on testing

Every direct marketing effort provides an opportunity for testing. It’s never too late to determine which offer out-performs another, which creative approach saves you a bundle of money, and which list is more accurate. And if you do all that, you’ll gain a better understanding of your target markets, and that will contribute to the success of your programs.Who wouldn’t want that?

Get started on testing

Need help testing? We’d love to talk. Call Mary Bonaccio at 585-381-4275, extension 201. Or email her at

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