Going ‘New School’: Harvard Medical School Leaves its Stuffy Reputation in the Dust
Too good to be true?
Certainly, there must be some things that have needed tweaking over the years, right? Surprisingly, very little has been altered from this mailing since its inception. Other than periodically updating medical information to reflect what’s newsworthy at the time, the only other change in this control has come in its size.
Originally sent as a jumbo (9-inch-by-12-inch) package, the campaign has shrunk to a 6-inch-by-11.5-inch jumbette envelope, due to the postal increases. But the increases didn’t catch Harvard by surprise and, as a result, it already knew what size would work best.
“With this last increase, it didn’t work for us financially to mail the jumbo package,” DeWitt shares. “We started testing smaller formats prior to the increase. We knew which size was going to produce the best results for us before the increase. But we had to change the size because there was no way we were going to be able to continue to mail the jumbo package.”
The decrease in size has certainly affected the results. The smaller size produces a smaller response rate, according to DeWitt, “But when you look at that and the cost of postage, this package makes sense for us.”
Naturally, Harvard continues to test against this control, including back-testing the old control and jumbo packages, but time and time again, it proves to be the strongest of the bunch. If it wasn’t for a little change in philosophy and a leap of faith, it might have never even seen the light of day.
“This package was a real departure for us,” says DeWitt, who fought to push it through. “When it was going through the approval stages, I certainly can’t say it was met with no resistance. But I’m glad we took a chance on it. It’s been more successful than we could have hoped.”