I joined this industry in a previous century, and we used to do things a bit differently then. Lesson one for a Green Account Exec was never, ever, give a straight answer to the question “How many prospects will say yes?” For lots of reasons, we thought that was right. Campaign performance can be influenced by so many factors outside of the control of the direct marketer that predicting outcomes was a mug’s game.

It was a comfortable way of protecting our own egos against the negative outcomes and an easy run-in for the litany of excuses we’d trot out if a campaign failed to deliver.

Less helpfully, this way of thinking made it unlikely that we would try to understand the successes or the failures of the campaign our data had delivered.

What happened? Well, we kept clients until we didn’t and sometimes we wondered why. It became clear we had to do things differently so that’s what we set out to do.

Today the PDV process has been established for many years and refined through experience.

Understand your customers

  • Add any level of information you can to your customer database to help you build a complete picture of different customer segments. We prefer to use first-party individual level data because it gives the most complete picture of the truth.
  • Then look at the population as a whole and create a view of the direct marketable universe by channel
  • Selecting data sources matching the relevant customer segments and build up a test programme from the bottom up.

Understand your own activity

  • Collate prior response rates from similar data sources
  • Create aggregated response and sales curves from previous activity
  • Build your estimates out from these curves considering the impact of the:
    • Creative treatment – is it new, tried and tested or tiring
    • Call to action
    • Offer – is it time bound and relevant to the customer segment
    • Rest of the marketing funnel – Do you have ATL activity going on at the same time
    • World at large – e.g. is there a Royal wedding going on?

With each and every campaign you can refine the response and conversion curves to deliver an ever more accurate estimate of future outcomes.

If that feels like a lot of work, ask your agency to do it for you or email me to find out how PDV can help.