When we look at case studies, we frequently scan to the bottom right away to see what the metrics are. Before we even read the about the campaign itself, we want to know the numbers. When we do, it’s easy to focus on the big number, the response rate or the overall ROI, if provided. But sometimes it’s in the deeper, more hidden numbers that the real story is told.

John Mashia, CEO of IMS Direct, recently shared a case study with me to be included an article I wrote on omnichannel marketing. The article hasn’t been published yet, so I don’t want to give away the fun. But I didn’t have room in the article for this particular nugget that I want to talk about here.  

The case study is from a $100 million credit union that, of course, wanted to boost member activity and generate more business. Working with IMS’s Marketing Innovations Group, the credit union identified under-utilized touch points and came up with a plan. IMS built automated campaigns that targeted new and current households and that included coordinated promotional advertising through direct mail, email, and transpromo messaging.

Overall response rate was 3.73%. New household response rate was nearly double that (5.83%), and the response rate from existing customers (those with existing loans) was half a point less (3.38%).  The new household portion of the campaign knocked it out of the park over the loan generation portion, right?

Actually, the opposite is true. The existing customer portion of the campaign had an ROI of 1546% compared to the new household’s ROI of 127%. The difference was in the “direct balance” numbers, which were far higher for the existing customer portion of the campaign. The response rates create a false perception, and this wasn’t apparent until you looked deeper.

It just reminded me that, as industry professionals, we can become so focused on the top-line story that we miss the nuggets underneath. So when reading case studies, keep in mind that there may be more to the story that is seen from the 50,000-foot view. You can’t mine it out of someone else’s case study, but you can mine it out of your own.

So when evaluating the results of your own campaigns, don’t stop at the top-line numbers. Dig deeper.