A measurement test, which allows you to determine if you are able to achieve your objectives with the advertisement you are testing, i.e. can you deliver the desired response within the budget using the test advertisement, e-mail or mailpack?
A comparison test, which allows you to measure different variables to determine which is the most effective mailpack or advertisement. Comparison tests are often combined with measurement tests - that is, you are testing whether you can deliver against your objective, and which advertisement, e-mail or mailpack delivers the best results.
Direct marketing is the art of losing money in very small amounts. You test and learn, test and learn, test and learn, then roll out.
Have you ever been advised to test your direct marketing before rolling out your whole campaign? How you ever felt you didn't have the budget to test, or wondered about the value of testing? If so, you're not alone. The majority of marketers don't test - they'd rather leap before they look.
This strange practice of not testing before conducting a campaign occurs because of ignorance, laziness, marketers believing they can predict the future or that they don't have time to test. Yet strangely, when things go wrong they always find the time to try and fix the problem. And then there are those who believe they don't have the budget to test. Yet anyone who does test will always say, 'you can't afford not to test'.
Why would you guess how successful you might be when you can know how successful you will be? Business is a constant test. Companies are always trying new ways of doing things in the pursuit of improved profitability and better results. The same applies with your direct marketing activity. What worked before might not work again, or might work even better next time. Until you test, you are not giving yourself the best chance of success.