I fear for the future of door drops

by Graham Dodd on 09/11/2018

Post the supposed Armageddon of GDPR, door drops are, according to many, a medium set to flourish.

Suddenly, third party companies with any sort of associated interest in door drops and possibly not a lot of industry knowledge, are promoting the medium in some cases for the first time I can ever recall and that worries me to a degree.

They may be the creative hot shop designing the door drop item, the printer producing the finished article or the fulfilment house handling the direct mail element of the campaign.

Their interest may be prompted by the client looking for a one stop shop to handle all or most aspects of the campaign, but that can incur additional costs for the client.

Those costs are commonly described as a “management fee”, i.e. the third party adding no value to the door drop proposal, just liaises with us and charges for their time, so is it worth it?

Over the years, it’s a scenario we are more than familiar with.

We have had examples of our presentation documents being returned to us, with another company’s front page, the overall content unchanged, except for the back page which quoted different (increased) campaign costs!

Regular conversations take place with third parties looking to earn management fees, but adding such costs on may well make their proposal to a client more expensive than other door drop suppliers tendering and they almost certainly will lose the business.

I understand the principle of providing the end client with a full service, but if as an example, as a printer you are earning your corn through your service, why jeopardise your chances of winning the business by marking up our charges?

We possess all the expertise, we generate the targeting, provide a proposal and liaise/book the final mile suppliers.

To be honest, we don’t need managing.

We will happily engage with any third party in exactly the same way we would with the client direct, but we will also charge the activity at the same rate as we would the end client.

For us it’s a question of investing our time and expertise into the process and in truth, a third party passing our work on with a margin added in, is not going to work.

I am of course delighted that any number of companies are suddenly seeing door drops as an opportunity.

But see it as an opportunity for your company to win new business in your area of expertise and by working alongside a door drop specialist (us!), it may quite possibly help you to win your share of the process in the first place.

You will find that the savvy clients use door drops on multiple occasions in a year when it is relevant, so there may be multiple opportunities of you providing your services to them.

If you price yourself out of the market at the first attempt, that’s potentially a long term loss for you and us, unless of course other third parties approach us with the same brief and also margin our proposal!

And please don’t take the alternative route, where you buy at the cheapest rate offered and then mark it up.

If you are looking to buy solus distribution in particular, please think before accepting the £45.00 per 1,000 rate you may well be offered; the drop simply cannot and won’t happen.

It’s more than likely it will be shared, perhaps without your knowledge, assuming the provider can source shares in all the areas you require in the same week, further assuming the full volume is dropped!

And the effect on the client?

Door drops don’t work for my business and the budget is lost to other media.

You have been warned.

In a world where we are all fighting for a share of the media budget in the first place, if door drops are ultimately judged as not being cost effective, it may be the management fee which tips the scales?

We do of course already enjoy a number of relationships with third parties such as printers and mailing houses, where the collaborations provide clients with a silver service from start to finish.

Clients return as I suggested earlier on multiple occasions during any year, proving their satisfaction with the service provided and the results generated from activity.

But importantly, they also know they really are being provided with a value for money service.

This article was written by...

– who has written 54 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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