Friday, 28 March, 2008

Numerology

I'm reading E-mail Marketing by Tim Beadle. On page 27 it says, “Research has shown that the optimum length for copy is around 200 words or less. Beyond 200 words, response rates for the SAME offer decline. That does NOT mean this is right for you – test it, try 100, 200 and 300 and see which pulls best.”

Even with the qualifier, I abhor this type of data. The more I think about it, the more harm such 'research findings' seem to have done to direct marketing. No summery is provided, and no source is sited. We don't know how many tests were carried out, across how many brands, in how many product categories. The author is silent about the range of response rates. He doesn't, of course, tell us how much the responses fell by.

One wonders why he quoted the figure at all, except to give an illiterate client to impose a counterproductive and baseless restriction on work. Or enable an equally illiterate agency person to fill the auditory vacuum during a meeting with numerical - numerological? - basalt.

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