Chase: Control Evolution

When a direct mail marketer takes a successful direct mail package and tweaks it, it is often referred to as "Control Evolution". This is often executed one of three ways:

1.       The nature of the offer has changed but the marketer chooses to retain the creative package. Same creative style, same package, new offer.

2.       The new package goes through an A/B test compared to the existing Control. The winner is the new Control.

3.       The marketer chooses to make changes but does not test against it.
In the case of this self-mailer I received from Chase, it appears that approach #2 or #3 applied -- with some notable changes compared to the solicitation package I received from Chase last summer:

·         The lead offer is communicated as "earn 50,000 bonus miles" instead of "earn up to 65,000 bonus miles." Both of the packages have basically the same offer -- 50,000 miles for card activation, 5,000 miles for adding an authorized user, and 10,000 miles when spending $25,000 in a year. However, while the older package cited a potential benefit, the new package has a headline that cites a solid benefit. A solid benefit in stronger language is an improvement.

Think about this in the concept of a human interaction. Let's say I offer you "up to $650 for an hour of your time."  You hear the phrase "up to" and immediately question the value of the offer. Is it really $650? However, if I offer you "$500 for an hour of your time" with a potential bonus of an additional $150, that sounds like a solid offer with an upside potential.

·         The subhead teaser on the address panel communicates more benefits more simply. The older package's teaser mentioned only bonus miles, first-year annual fee waiver, and priority boarding. The new package's teaser mentions the bonus miles. It mentions the first-year annual fee waiver, but does not quantify the benefit. That is good because the mention of the $95 cost of the card before a customer actively considers the product can be daunting. In addition to priority boarding, it mentions United Club passes. The teaser sensibly does not quantify the benefit of the passes because the statement is there just to tease. The prospective customer can open the self-mailer to learn that he or she will receive two passes a year.

·         The inside flap copy was modified. The personalized introduction statement is on the left side while the quantification of potential miles benefits is on the right. The potential miles explanation is not integrated with an update of the reader's current United MileagePlus balance. This smartly allows the reader to focus on the specific aspirational benefits of the card rather than my account.

·         The person holding the card is younger, clean-cut, and not as explicitly African-American. 

When I noticed this last significant difference, I took a look at the landing page. The person holding the card no longer looks like a young Jeff Goldblum. He is now is a she, and she looks like Katee Sackhoff.

On the whole, the package I received is an improvement from the summer package.  Perhaps Chase learned to continue to refine the Control package.

Lesson: Your Control package should evolve over time.

No comments: