Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

Answer to “Test Your Direct Response I.Q.”

August 24th, 2005 by Bob Bly

The correct answer is “B,” as reported in “Successful Direct Marketing Methods” by Bob Stone, Sixth Edition, NTC Business Books, 1997, page 203.

“Buy one, get one free” outpulled the other offers by 40%.

There are two lessons contained in this test result.

FIRST, you can never say with absolute certainty what is going to work in direct marketing. The only way to determine the winner is through a test.

SECOND, you can ignore those who tell you “free” is overused, hokey, downscale, or whatever.

Smart marketers continue to use “free” because it WORKS — and for no other reason.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 24th, 2005 at 9:17 am and is filed under Direct Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

1,054 responses about “Answer to “Test Your Direct Response I.Q.””

  1. Matt said:

    Thanks Bob!

    Free does still work. And it creates skepticism. Combine ‘free’ with an honest reason why you are giving something away, and you’ve got a very powerful formula.

  2. Tom McKay said:

    Very interesting exercise, Bob. Thanks for the brain teaser. But what if you’re selling a big-ticket or large-size item — I dunno, maybe a 64-inch plasma TV — and the customer might not actually want two of them?

    I know, I know, one of you readers will take the other one off my hands — thanks! 😉

    Seriously, in that case wouldn’t 50% of be more effective? What do you think?

    Tom McKay
    Better Business Communications

  3. D. KOT said:

    Here in Russia Philips is carriing out a promo action. What they offer is a
    plazma TV as a present (a small one) in case you buy one. The idea seems to
    be the same, though you can’t call this a direct-mail. So far it is known
    whether the action is effective or not, but it is a fact. You get one free
    (as a present) and not a 50% discount.

  4. Richard Leader said:

    I think it’s dangerous to make conclusions from one promotion; what was the product? who was the target market?
    It would be interesting to look at such a test in – say – the B2B market and see what worked best there…

  5. Bob Bly said:

    Richard: I agree you can’t formulate a rule based on a single test to a single market. On the other hand, 25 years of testing have led me to conclude that FREE works equally well in both b-2-b and b-2-c marketing.

  6. Robert B. McNeill said:

    The appeal of FREE: It’s the old ’emotion over logic’ lesson again, isn’t it? Even if reason should dictate otherwise, none of us is immune to the idea of getting something for nothing.

  7. Sean D\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'Souza said:

    There’s a reason why it works. I’ve covered it extensively in an article. I’m not so sure, it’s the FREE part, but rather the factor of the tip over; the bonus factor.

    Of course, you’re free (oops, there goes the word again) to disagree with me.

    But read the article too. It might be illuminating

  8. Wendy Meyeroff said:

    I’m not sure it’s just the word FREE, though as we all know it’s a great motivator. I think it’s just important that it’s easier to figure out your return in a one-to-one ratio. Too many people have such bad math skills that they’re not sure how much 50% percent or half off will give them. And even if they are, it may not sound like such a deal. I’d rather go to Payless shoe stores for 1 free pair of shoes with each one I buy, rather than getting 1/2 off on the second pair.

  9. sports tickets said:

    juicy couture
    haute couture
    fashion design
    fashion dress

  10. sports tickets said:

    formal dress
    homecoming dress
    dress up
    evening dress

  11. sports tickets said:

    arabic music
    arabic mp3
    arabic newspaper
    arabic songs

  12. sports tickets said:

    arab Search Engine
    arab times
    arab news
    arabic movie

  13. sports tickets said:

    paper company
    paper making
    paper company
    ?? ????

  14. sports tickets said:

    international paper
    paper supply
    paper source

  15. sports tickets said:

    search engine ranking
    internet search engine
    web directory
    paper products

  16. sports tickets said:

    search engine marketing
    search engine
    web search
    search engine submission

  17. sports tickets said:

    domain name hosting
    web directory
    add url
    Search Engine optimization

  18. sports tickets said:

    Web Hosting Provider
    domain hosting
    Web Hosting company
    affordable web hosting

  19. David said:

    Welcome Aboard! This is group that I’ve just set up specifically for all traders in the world. Please feel to post stories, comments, testimonials, questions and more to this group. Exchange ideas, knowledge and skills. Hope you enjoy it immensely!

  20. Dating said:

    Good evening!
    We would like to announce the launch of our new dating blog.
    Dating online

  21. Creditss said:

    The most interesting site about Credit cards
    Credit card dept
    [url=]Credit card debt consolodation[/url] Credit card debt elimination

  22. Marketing said:

    Interesting ideas!

  23. Antibush said:

    Bush is forever saying that democracies do not invade other countries and start wars. Well, he did just that. He invaded Iraq, started a war, and killed people. What do you think? Why has bush turned our country from a country of hope and prosperity to a country of belligerence and fear.
    Are we safer today than we were before?
    We have lost friends and influenced no one. No wonder most of the world thinks we suck. Thanks to what george bush has done to our country during the past three years, we do!

  24. Masha said:

    very nice blog

  25. directtv said:

    Blog of directtv

  26. OnlineDrugstore said:

    Online Drugstore Online Drugstore

  27. www black babes com said:

    www black babes com

    www black babes com

  28. black dick in blonde chicks said:

    black dick in blonde chicks

    black dick in blonde chicks

  29. lesbian bondage latex said:

    lesbian bondage latex

    lesbian bondage latex

  30. free virgin pussy videos said:

    free virgin pussy videos

    free virgin pussy videos

  31. naked animai cartoons said:

    naked animai cartoons

    naked animai cartoons

  32. anime sex gif said:

    anime sex gif

    anime sex gif

  33. russian shemale anal sex said:

    russian shemale anal sex

    russian shemale anal sex

  34. goldncoins said:

    click here
    bzsx ski qcpys liq modiceybk ldhjis piqbp.

    rbyy lwf lubgl owp tliyfowcu xfcfmk vwaow.

    click here
    djsp ybv lmupm ecu fatryaqrz somtmr dbxjy.

    If you can see this message, email

  35. Ephedra. said:

    Ephedra pseudofed.

    Denver ephedra attorney. Ephedra products. Ephedra pills. Twinlab metabolift with ephedra. Ephedra.

  36. ass sex said:

    Hi Ephedra.
    I think all this not so badly, and it is necessary
    to continue to move in this direction!!!

  37. Wealth Women Debts Women Debts said:

    Its very intresting and Informative stuff. Women finds it difficult to manage their cost, save $1 a day and you can see the difference it makes

  38. Michelle Boudreau said:

    I like your post. No matter what amount of debt a person has, willingness to retire is the first step

  39. Debt Rescue Relief said:

    It’s really amazing. Debt can be rescued by reducing expenses not by increase income

  40. Darwin Guirand said:

    Which doesn’t aid make sense at all. You might have a great plan connected with what is happening

  41. Free Android Apk said:

    Answer to “Test Your Direct Response I.Q.” – blog – direct marketing blog I was recommended this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re incredible! Thanks! your article about Answer to “Test Your Direct Response I.Q.” – blog – direct marketing blogBest Regards Cindy

  42. lostoast said:

    First-time We have went to your site. I get pleasure from that. Numerous thanks for all you do.

  43. Nephilim said:

    If you have one particular weblog I like reading every day, it’s that one particular.

  44. firmware ipad said:

    Outstanding weblog site the following! Also net website significantly upward really quickly!

Leave a Reply