Direct Marketing, Mail Order, and E-commerce News from the National Mail Order Association


New System Model Scores Advertising Creative to Increase Response Rates

Advertising PowerLIFT is a new service to raise advertising effectiveness and response
rates by model scoring an ad's creative execution to measure the response power
generation. The adpowerlift model is constructed of the key traits, or characteristics,
an advertisement must possess to drive -- or pull -- response. After scoring the
advertisement, adpowerlift recommends changes in the creative execution to strengthen
any low scoring or negative traits. The full service includes a strategy review, metric
evaluation, response forecast, income statement and risk analysis. Adpowerlift can
evaluate and strengthen both new advertising before it runs, and current ads suffering
from fatigue and decreasing response rates. The service is ordered through the Internet
from and completes in 5 days for less than $1,500.

Researching advertising effectiveness is difficult, and usually too costly except for large
budget advertisers. So many advertisers evaluate an ad's creative execution with a
subjective view from personal experience. Direct response advertisers research new
ads by testing them in A/B split tests against control ads with known response rates.
But even they rely on personal experience to decide if a new creative execution is
strong enough to test. Adpowerlift is a new service for advertisers to objectively
evaluate a response advertisement, compare it to over 300 other ads, and get
comprehensive improvement guidance to strengthen its response power generation.

The adpowerlift model is constructed of 17 positive and negative traits that determine
an advertisement's effectiveness at pulling response. Each trait is value weighted by
importance with the total of all the positive value weights equaling 100. The scoring
process assigns a numeric grade point from 0 to 5 for the ad's creative execution
strength of each trait. The numeric grade point multiplied by the value weight equals
the ad's trait score. And, the sum of all trait scores is the model score. Assuming no
negative traits reduce it, the highest possible model score is 500. While the model
score does not predict response, it does correlate directly to response power
generation. And higher response power generation creates higher response.

The model traits apply to both consumer and business-to-business advertising, but
vary in how they are implemented. The trait value weights also vary by ad type
(direct order sale, inquiry-generation, store-traffic generation, and fund-raising) and
advertising channel (space, direct mail and catalog). The Internet channel starts beta
test in March. The broadcast ad type and channel will be added in the fall. The
adpowerlift scoring report explains the model traits, and how to implement them in
complete detail.

The scoring report also compares the ad's score to over 300 scores of other ads
previously scored. The ranking includes ads from many categories including insurance,
apparel, food, travel, automobiles, and home furnishings. (The identity of specific ads
is confidential; only aggregate scores are reported.) The advertisers of scored ads
include Lands End, Select Comfort, Sharper Image, SUREFIT, American Express,
and Walt Disney World. Fund-raisers include American Red Cross, American
Cancer Society, and American Heart Society. Retailers include Chico's, Sports
Authority, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Home Depot.

The research and development to create adpowerlift took over 3 years. Virtually
every available published work in direct response strategy formation, creative
development, and advertising effectiveness was studied. Hundreds of marketing
science and academic journal papers were reviewed. Professionals added their
real-world experience from thousands of ads and A/B split test results. To assure
objectivity, the adpowerlift model traits and value weights were reviewed by an
independent panel of advertising professionals. The model traits and value weights
are confidential and only published in the scoring report, provided under license to
subscribers of the service. Further information about the model and an extensive
question and answer list is available at the website,

Advertising PowerLIFT is a division of SmartPlans LLC, a marketing consultancy based in Annapolis, MD, and Newtown, CT, that provides marketing planning, circulation management and media buying services. The President of SmartPlans is Stephen J. Stuart, a senior direct marketing executive of 30-years experience including the early high-growth years of The Franklin Mint, leadership of several catalogs and consulting experience in many industries.

Stuart commented, "With over 300 ads now scored, we understand better why advertisers complain about weak advertising effectiveness and low response rates. The weaknesses that cause low response rates are very visible when an ad is scored against the adpowerlift model."

Advertising PowerLIFT's Internet address is and phone number is (410) 991-7084.


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