It may be summer, but that doesn’t mean good marketers don’t have math homework. Of all the formulas and equations floating around out there, perhaps none is so important or so mysterious as the equation for greater response rates.

As it turns out, the equation is known, and it isn’t terribly complicated; it just takes some proper planning. We break it down below, and as always, we show our work. Pencils out, because this is study hall.

Better Data

Part one of the equation is better data. By better data, we don’t mean more data, or the same data in a prettier font. Better data is more knowledge – actual, actionable knowledge – about to whom you’re marketing. Some agencies call this “persona creation,” and it’s perfectly fine if that rings nicely in your ears.

Why create better personas? Well, why not try to market a Ferrari to a toddler? For the same reason: they won’t be interested. If your product or service is designed to speed workflows for HR managers in small-to-medium-sized companies, what good will it do (and what a waste will it be) to spend time and money throwing content at CFOs of Fortune 500 corporations? Not only is it so far off target as to be needlessly wasteful, but none of those contacts are going to respond or convert.

On the more precise scale of the real world, these differentiations and miscalculations happen across a much finer line, when the difference between a response and a failure is, say, simply the size of the company, or targeting an HR director instead of an HR manager.

Understanding your accounts and the marketing landscape on this scale is what we mean by “better data.” This stuff is not optional; it’s the difference between millions of dollars in revenue and just another missed opportunity.

That’s why the first part of the equation is investing in better market intelligence data.

Optimized Content

So, you’ve properly identified who might just have a real need for your product. Awesome! You’re halfway to getting an A in marketing math class. Once you know to whom you want to speak, you must figure out what you want to say.

Content is king. Let the declaration ring out across the land. But creating the right content is where most marketers fail to fully capitalize on this royal equation of ours. What does “right” mean? It means fully optimized.

Many marketers split or A/B test their content: they move the CTA button up here, try a different font color there, and so forth. But at the end of the day, you’re still simply presenting your customer with two types of vanilla and asking if they prefer French or Madagascar. True campaign optimization is walking your customer into the ice cream parlor and inviting them to pick their favorite.

The best content optimizers create two fully distinct campaigns – including two different design teams and two different copywriters – to deploy both to a sample audience, then analyze the results of both across dozens of key performance indicators (KPIs). The difference in performance between the two is frequently as high as a 30% change in response rate. The campaign that resonates the best with your predetermined personas is then rolled out to your entire list.

The result of combining better data and optimized content? Well that equation looks like this:

Better Data Optimized Content = 44 – 84% increase in response rate.

But that’s not all! This equation has a PhD-level addendum.

Personal Follow-Ups

To really take your marketing equation from JV-level to varsity, always include personal, human telephone and email follow-ups. Studies show that combining the above equation (better data + optimized content) with an outbound calling campaign increases response rate and first appointments by a full 25%.

Effective use of prospect relationship management (PRM) solutions is a vital factor that can multiply campaign effectiveness, subtract missed opportunities, and generally serve as a no-guesswork calculus for better performing marketing.