Quad/Graphics has announced a new technology platform for testing direct marketing.

The company says the platform lifts response rates, increasing reliability and shortening time to market at a fraction of the cost of traditional mail testing.

The virtual testing platform, called Accelerated Insights, that can test up to 20 content variables in one pass. It uses a sophisticated persona matrix that combines demographics with emotional characteristics to predict what factors motivate someone to act on an offer. 

Scott Harvey, senior vice president of marketing solutions at Quad/Graphics, says, “Marketers have been following the same testing methods for decades, many times with disappointing results. This technology creates a roadmap for campaign creative that tells marketers exactly what is most important to customers and prospects.”

In addition to the persona matrix, the Accelerated Insights testing platform relies on a vetted pool of millions of survey respondents, differentiated based on hundreds of characteristics. The technology draws from that pool to create survey panels that mirror direct marketers’ target consumers.

It presents the panels mailing packages that each have multiple variables. Based on the panels’ responses, a proprietary algorithm predicts which combination of format, offer, messaging, and imagery will have the most success. With that information, marketers can determine the most cost-effective package before sending out a single piece of mail. The company has placed the Accelerated Insights testing platform in limited release for the past two years, used by customers in a range of business categories including financial services, insurance, health care and retail.

Andy Bear, executive director of market solutions for Quad/Graphics, and part of the team who helped develop the platform, says, “We have worked with our customers for decades to fine-tune the tools, data workflows and logistics of direct mail. It puts us in a position to analyse all the steps involved in direct mail testing and to develop a breakthrough approach that doesn’t take so much time and calculation.”

The company says marketers receive a complete picture of important variables, and unimportant variables, through the Accelerated Insights Simulator, a cloud-based application that displays all testing parameters and results. Marketers have secure access to the different package scenarios 24/7.

A marketing director involved in the early release of the technology says, “The Accelerated Insights testing platform allowed us to efficiently pre-qualify the potential of variables prior to executing a live mailing. That way, we were able to successfully optimise our highest performing elements while also mitigating waste in terms of both time and money.”

Quad/Graphics says that the platform achieves all of this without a physical mailing. It says that, using Accelerated Insights, Quad has helped direct marketers:

Reduce total testing time to 60 days;
Realise 97 percent level (+/-three percent) accuracy on projections;
Achieve increase in response rates of 18 to 27 percent; and
Lower testing costs by as much as 90 percent.

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