Do you know who you are dealing with?

by Graham Dodd on 08/05/2018

Over the many years I sat on the Direct Marketing Association’s Door Drop Council, a regular subject for debate was membership criteria and categories.

Criteria was ultimately determined by the DMA, but working to a check list provided by a Council working party, whose goal was to ensure that only reputable door drop companies, with all the required services and systems became members.

To enforce that, Council members were both inspected themselves and took part in inspections of new applicants.

My biggest issue always surrounded whether membership should be categorised as national, regional or local; which I was in favour of.

Surely a potential door drop user trawling the DMA website for a reputable, nationwide supplier, should be able to select one approved by the DMA as having nationwide services?

Not a reputable supplier offering nationwide services, but actually only providing a great service in Cornwall?

The issue then and now, is companies who portray themselves as something they are not and potentially mislead clients in my opinion.

That’s not limited to DMA members of course and is far more prevalent amongst non-members – which is even scarier.

TLC is very different to any other door drop supplier, in that we offer no in-house final mile solutions, but provide a nationwide service, sub-contracting 100% of our clients’ activity and are totally open about the suppliers we use on any one individual brief.

There is no other company in the UK that can make that claim.

But there are door drop companies out there masquerading as something they are not, and importantly, not making their clients aware.

A bold claim perhaps, but I can assure you it happens.

Should a client not be aware from the outset that the company they are in discussion with, may not be the final mile supplier that fulfils their requirements; wholly or partly?

I recently received an email from a regional distribution company seeking a meeting to discuss how they could handle our national distribution requirements.

I felt sorry for the guy in the end, because he probably picked on the worst person in the industry to sell that proposition to.

It took some probing and he initially gave some good answers, with plausible explanations, but it was just not true.

Eventually I tabled a specific question and he admitted his company would pass on the work to an “associate” in that area.

When pushed further, he named them.

Given they are already one of our existing preferred suppliers in that area, I asked the question why I should book them through him rather than direct and pay more?

At which point he crumbled and his whole proposition started taking on water.

I’ve not heard from him since.

Door drops are a medium where some third parties, and not just distribution companies, are taking a commission for simply placing an order.

Unless the third party is adding value to the proposition, that has the potential to inflate the final charge to an unsuspecting client.

If the client is happy to pay somebody for their time just to manage the process, if the element being sub contracted is only part of the brief, or if door drops are part of an integrated campaign being managed centrally, fair enough.

But over the years, we have seen examples of our proposals to the “client”, where the front and back pages have been changed.

The front page carries the name of another company and the back page’s only change is to increase our charge!

I know of examples where there are two and on a couple of occasions, three intermediaries between us and the actual client.

You can only imagine how long it takes to receive feedback on questions and, importantly, get paid!

Let me assure you there is another option; deal direct!

This article was written by...

– who has written 86 posts on Letterbox Consultancy for Door Drop Marketing.

Graham Dodd is the founder of The Letterbox Consultancy - he has over 40 years of experience in the door drop industry and remains at the forefront of innovation in the business.

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