From my observation, many membership organizations under budget and do not reach deep enough into their markets for potential members.
Claude C. Hopkins is acknowledged as the great grandfather of direct marketing. In 1923, Hopkins wrote Scientific Advertising in which he declared that: “The time has come when advertising has in some hands reached the status of a science.” 1
His fundamental marketing thesis was: “We learn the principles and prove them by repeated tests. This is done through keyed advertising by traced returns . . . We compare one way with many others, backward and forward, and record the results. When one method invariably proves best, that method becomes a fixed principle.” 2
Today, his premise of testing is as true as ever. In fact, testing may even be more important now because the vast array of options available to marketers. A test can mean the difference between a stunning success for a product or an abject failure.
And because of the larger quantities and costs involved, testing is a particular necessity and an ideal opportunity when it comes to membership recruitment.
It is not uncommon to see a successful test change response rates by the following percentages:
• List tests – Can impact response by 500 percent.
• Offer tests – Can impact response by 200 percent.
• Creative tests – Can impact response by 100 percent.
These test outcomes highlight that by doing the same old thing over and over again, there is likelihood that a marketing program is substantially sub-optimizing the potential returns that could be achieved.
If testing is so important, then how should it be done?