Market research experts have discovered a new tool that allows them to quickly identify target market cells, measure customer acceptance, test new product or service concepts quickly and cheaply, and explore market characteristics … Direct card map.
For two to four cents per contact, a researcher can now gather market information from specialized vertical markets (lawyers, doctors, etc.) or from broad-based horizontal markets (all marketing executives across industry lines). In addition, those same markets can now be tested in such limited geographical areas as business executives in Hawaii or professionals in Minneapolis.
Not only does the market overcome one of the traditional problems of research – the size of the test … it also takes great advantage of precise measurability and accountability. Because all responses can be diverted back to the research organization, market feedback is quick and accurate.
Many firms have difficulty collecting statistically significant samples through traditional channels due to budget constraints.
Often important strategic decisions are made based on sampling only 2,000 names from the universe of several million potential customers. This is risky at best. This could lead to a marketing disaster based on a serious sampling error or incorrect conclusions from insufficient data.
With direct response packages, it is now possible to test or screen as many as 100,000 leads for as little as $ 2,000 or less. For a direct trader, this results in significant figures that are both statistically significant and predictable.
Proper analysis of this larger sample should result in strategic decisions that are more accurate, meaningful, valid and cost-effective for direct marketing.
Ability to order and run true A / B (or more) split test offers, pricing, etc. it has important implications for the creative team.
A pioneer of marketing intelligence through a card package can be a valuable road map to success. Critically important information discovered through payment card advertising can provide answers to the following questions such as:
==> Did we target the right audience?
==> Does the audience respond to the degree needed to maximize potential profitability?
==> Do we have the right combination of bidding, pricing, copies, graphics, titles, conditions, etc.?
==> Are response / profit characteristics such as to justify testing such other direct response media as direct mail, space or advertising?
==> Is it possible to market a variation of this product / service to a closely related audience?
==> What is the potential for a return on related product sales?
==> Are we using the wrong tree? Should we now reduce our losses and thank the lucky stars that we could easily discover that we were wrong?
Although the benefits of card cards as a market research tool outweigh the disadvantages, there are some limitations to be aware of:
1. The card itself is small (about 3 “x5”) and as such limits your ability to test things like offering a long copy and more options. Some decks provide larger format sizes with the ability to create folding inserts that provide more space, but these options are very reasonably priced. Small space can work in your favor because it forces you to limit your testing to those factors that have the deepest impact on response and profitability … ie. bid and price, for example.
2. Color reproduction, if it matters to your product, is not always the best. Normal .007 Hi bulk paper bags commonly used in card decks are not the best choice for color printing. However, most deck publishers offer a stock option with drops and you may find it helpful.
3. On average, response rates are lower on the card deck (1/4 of one to one percent) than they could be in a free-standing direct mail package. On the surface, this may seem like a disadvantage. In fact, it is not.
Your goal in market research / testing is to obtain statistically significant data in the broadest possible sampling … subject to budget constraints.
Cards give you exactly that goal. It is much better to have a 1/4 response than 1% from the 100,000 namespace (250 answers) than to have 12.5% (250 answers) from a small test station with 2000 names. Although the totals are the same, the previous example gives a more reliable picture of market conditions and possible acceptance of the product / service.
In short, we have found that direct response devices, when used properly, can be ideal market research tools. Cards are cheap to use. They give quick and accurate results. They reduce the risk of sampling error, and the data obtained are both statistically significant and inherently more valid.
There is only one way to know for sure … test it!
© Copyright 2005 Thom Reece All rights reserved
by Thom Reece