'But How Do You Know?'
The inquiry started out along the lines of asking about what I like (we’ll get to my thoughts about that in a minute), but when rephrased it prompted what I believe is a more useful question: “How do you know?”
How do you know what creative to test? How do you know which offer to try? How do you know which concept to give a shot? How do you know?
The flip answer is you can’t know absolutely. Fundraising doesn’t come with 100 percent certainty on the front end, however much we’re able to judge success and failure down to the most minute of variables once a campaign’s returns are complete. But that’s not to say there isn’t a lot you can know going in, information that helps you pick contenders more wisely than the “eeny-meeny-miney-moe” method.
So ask yourself these questions.
Do you like it?
Your answer to that question, whatever your personal reaction is, should always be, “It doesn’t matter if I like it.” Like is irrelevant — you can love a piece of creative or a concept more than you love your own children, but that doesn’t mean it will work. You’re not mailing a 10,000-piece test to yourself, so how you would respond personally shouldn’t be a factor in whether or not to green-light it.
This advice to toss what you do or don’t like aside goes not only for you, but also for everyone else on whose behalf you may be badgered into assuming a mantle of bias (read: anyone who simply endures your direct-marketing program and secretly or not-so-secretly thinks it’s an offense to good taste and dignity).
As dismissive as I may be of whether it’s “liked,” I encourage you to spend a lot more time contemplating giving a thumbs-up to something that prompts an immediate, “I hate it.”