Why is December 15th 1995 such an important day in history?

by Graham Dodd on 15/12/2015

Is it that :

  • Playboy magazine went on sale in Ireland for the first time in 35 years, or
  • the Bosman ruling changed the face of professional football transfers, or
  • newly released film Jumanji replaced Toy Story at the top of the film charts, or
  • that The Letterbox Consultancy revolutionised the door drop planning and buying process?

I’d obviously like to think, as I look back on the last 20 years, that it is the latter of course!

Prior to that date, no service provider offered door drop users a package which targeted door drops through a system such as MOSAIC, produced planning data, wrote a critique reviewing the relative strengths and weaknesses of Royal Mail door to door (in those days still an emerging option), free newspapers (increasingly gaining market share on traditional team shared and solus options) and/or the team systems, making a recommendation of how best to implement a door drop plan and ultimately buying the agreed media.

I had decades of experience of team systems, plus quite a few years learning about the different skill sets provided by free newspapers and Royal Mail D2D, so felt perfectly placed to make the jump into the unknown.

It was still scary though to be honest.

Working at home, alone, in the days before email, it was a treat when the telephone or fax rang; preferably the telephone as it was somebody to talk to!

I telephoned everyone I knew, I sent countless letters (remember letters?), I spent hours faxing people I did not know.

And then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

A few clients and “prospects” (I suspect including a degree of industrial espionage) invited me in for talks, some even bought me drinks and occasionally lunch.

Slowly it started to happen.

Month on month it started to increase, but it was slow, hard going.

Then one memorable day in September 1996, the telephone rang and at the other end was a quite large direct response client from a previous life.

“I’ve got something I’d like you to look at. If you are interested, I’ll fax (!) it across?”.

Interested? I’ll jump into the car and drive 2 hours to pick it up if you like!

And so TLC took off.

20 years on, the service provided is basically still the “same”, but with a few crucial additions which set us apart from our peers.

I’m particularly proud of SMART-Drop which we launched in 2010.

We still seem to be the only door drop supplier actively promoting the use of niche targeting within postal sectors to reduce the wastage commonly associated with door drops, but that does not bother me hugely, the most important thing is that our clients queue up for the service.

And my desire to provide clients with maximum choice and opportunity remains undiminished – watch this space!

I’m also very proud of the service levels we provide.

From the early days when it was quiet, it was easy to turn client requests around quickly and its not rocket science that you should maintain those service levels as your business grows.

Perhaps I’m old school, but we always make every effort to immediately acknowledge client contact, manage expectations in terms of provision of data and proposals and then achieve the deadlines we agree – to me that’s a common courtesy.

I still love it when a new business opportunity arrives on the radar – these days mainly through email of course! – particularly when its on referral from another satisfied client.

And when you win that new business opportunity partly on the basis of the speed of your response and partly because of the quality of your proposal, I still get the same buzz.

Over the years the old salesman in me has been tempted to put my foot on the gas and grow the company, but upon reflection, I decided against that in favour of maintaining the quality of service we provide to our select band of clients.

Of course we are always looking for new business, but I still think its important for us to work with clients whose culture is perhaps similar to ours.

In recent years, particularly since Neal joined in 2010, the business has grown considerably and we have blue chip names we are proud to call clients, but we still have a handful of clients from those very early days which is truly rewarding.

So I close this birthday post by thanking all our clients and suppliers for their support over the years and we look forward to working with you for years to come – hopefully!

Thanks to Neal for bringing new ideas and a new dynamic to the table and of course thanks to Annette, for her support over the last 20 years, firstly on a part time basis whilst still teaching and for many years full time.

If you are reading this and are not currently a client and would like a different opinion of your existing door drop plans, or are a new user seeking quality guidance, please feel free to get in touch for a different view at any time.

Its been working well for 20 years and I don’t see it changing any time soon.

Best wishes.

This article was written by...

– who has written 32 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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