An Unkind Cut?
The redesigned package features a white No. 10 in three colors, with a black-and-white photograph of a kitten on the front and the teaser, “Nine lives and she still needs saving,” written in purple. The inner elements of the package employ a bit more color than the elements in the gray control mailing, but for the most part the elements and their messaging are the same. The cost per thousand to mail the gray control is $270 vs. a CPM of $302 for the test, but the hope was that these minor tweaks to make a more visually interesting package would appeal to a wider range of people and offset the increased costs.
ACA tested its new mailing beginning in late August 2005 and, much to Ravenscroft’s surprise, it didn’t beat the old gray control. In her own words, the redesigned test “has been just absolutely blown out of the water
by the old, dredge-y gray piece.”
In terms of response, the cost for the organization to obtain one donor with the test mailing was $34.82 versus $11.36 with the gray control.
The reason? Ravenscroft sees it as a result of ACA’s audience being, in large part, older individuals who, rather than being turned off by a two-color package, are heartened by the simple mailing because it looks cost effective.
Proving its mettle in the mail, the gray mailing remains ACA’s control. The organization has since continued testing other variables such as the mailing’s gift string and lowered the cost to acquire donors to $7.94.