How would you measure the size of the door drop industry?

by Graham Dodd on 03/07/2017

The recent DMA publication on the door drop industry in 2016 has encouraged a proliferation of commentators claiming an industry revival and/or growth; really?

What is the correct/best measurement of growth?

How can an industry have grown, when the report confirms volumes have decreased year on year for the last 5 years, from 7.2 billion in 2012 to 5.7 billion in 2016?

Oh I see, the growth is in spend; “Despite a reduction in volume, spend increased by 7% year-on-year between 2015 and 2016, bringing spend back up to 2012 levels. Overall, spend over the past five years has been broadly flat” the report quotes?

So the industry “grew” 7% in spend between 2015-16 to get back to a level it enjoyed in 2012?

So, if volumes are down, where did that increased spend (“growth”) come from?

Some of it can be attributed to annual price hikes from final mile suppliers, but does not most of it emanate from clients switching final mile solutions?

If you are a business in Cambridge and door drop via the Town & Crier free newspaper worked well for you historically, you won’t be best pleased when you discover the newspaper has just ceased publication.

So if door drops worked well and you plan to continue using the medium, migrating to a more expensive door drop solution, whether that be RM D2D, solus or shared, will result in a significant hike in price.

And if you plan to drop anything like the same volume you did through the T & C, it will cost you a lot more.

Is that really growth?

But the fall in volume could also suggest not all clients are migrating their total volumes because of increased spend?

The report further suggests targeting plays a role in reduced volumes and to an extent, I agree with that, but that’s not news; it’s been happening for a decade or more.

The industry’s perceived overall annual volume however remains my biggest single complaint about this report.

The publication mentions a new measurement system will in future replace the current format and we can only hope it provides a more accurate monitor.

The biggest single weakness in the current system, which has been the case for a long while now (including my time on the Door Drop Council), is the size of the DMA’s door drop supplier membership.

Visit the DMA website, navigate through to the door drop supplier page and you will find 17 company listings.

In my opinion based upon their company summaries, three of those actually have nothing to do with door drop and suggest their business expertise is either inserts, online mail or international postal services, so one imagines they do not contribute to the volume/expenditure statistics (so why they are on a door drop supplier listing?).

I’d hope the remaining 14 companies respond, but based on past door drop council experience, I suspect not.

So, statistics are created by what submissions are received by the DMA and an industry “estimate” of those missing?

The issue I believe is that the DMA has never really got to grips with the size of the local market and I don’t believe the new system will change that, but I hope to be proved wrong.

I’ve claimed for years the industry is twice as big as the statistics suggest year on year and I still believe that.

Next week we will publish our 6 month volume review, which will confirm this belief.

This article was written by...

– who has written 77 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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