When reviewing print program performance there are several levers that can be pulled to generate response rate lifts. Many planners will look mainly to rate and creative to get programs to goal and miss other tactics that can be equally impactful. If you have exhausted options with rate and creative do not deem a program unsuccessful. Even gaps at 50-75% below goal can be closed if all the right levers are pulled. Below are seven key optimization tactics and ideas for consideration. If you can get a few of these to provide small incremental lifts in combination they can turn unsuccessful programs into successful ones. Of course rate and creative should be reviewed and are included but they don’t necessarily need to be included to turn a program around. Any grouping of optimization levers can be pulled to close response rate gaps.
- Rate: When examining rate here are a few things to consider.
- Can you switch to remnant? If you’re buying non-remnant guaranteed you can usually sacrifice targeting and timing and cut your rate down by switching to remnant.
- Can you increase circulation and enter a volume agreement? Sometimes these can be booked with clauses to back-out if performance falls off. Sometimes you can book these by way of rebate so you get money back if you hit a circulation which would allow your overall program results to come down later in the campaign.
- Have you discussed options with program owners? Possibly there are other ways to reduce rates such as; cooperative ads, allowing it to be spread across multiple drops, or something else you may not have thought of. Call the program and have a discussion.
- Creative: Creative testing should be done constantly. Even when you have a working control you should be actively seeking a control buster. Also, consider how often you rotate creative. Keep it fresh by changing colors or headlines.
- Geo-level targeting: Can you pick zones, zips or sub-zips? If you have the option it is foolish not to do anything. Consider these things when choosing :
- Have you looked at where your current customers are?
- Have you lined up demographics by zone, zip, etc…to your target demographics?
- If you have retail locations what is the radius to be considered?
- Have you looked at historical results for the program or a typical program on a geo level?
- Timing to market:
- Is your product impacted by monthly seasonality?
- Do holidays offer lifts/depressions?
- Does your audience respond better in the first week of the month or maybe the middle or last?
- Does a specific day offer a lift?
- Offer: Creating an incentive for the customer will almost always lift response. Here are some things to consider:
- Free gifts with purchase
- Free trial or extended free trial
- Free samples
- Format: Testing formats is as crucial as testing creative. Changing sizes, paper stock, and type can help combat fatigue and capture new eyeballs. In addition, knowing what resources your company is using to print documents already and ganging up with those print runs can create efficiencies and reduce cost. Sometimes even small changes to size and paper stock may impact cost but not response.
- Frequency: What is the right number of times to hit a customer in a given vehicle? In newspapers can it be daily? In Coops is it quarterly? Direct Mail is it weekly? Maximizing frequency in good programs and reducing it in programs that see fatigue can close gaps.
VP, Print Media Buying