Living in a bubble?

by Graham Dodd on 08/11/2012

Pretty much a month on from the release of this year’s fast.MAP Marketing Gap report, we are still spreading the word and sending a copy to anyone who requests us to do so.

To be honest, we are still digesting the contents ourselves because it is absolutely packed with really interesting data and it will take some time to thoroughly digest.

We have cherry picked some of the most relevant areas to us such as the promotions and fundraising data and any number of our clients in those business sectors have been very grateful for drawing the availability of the data to their attention.

And they have subsequently agreed with our initial summary of the report which suggests some of the results make scary reading for marketers.

But its interesting that some marketers blatantly ignore its existence and seemingly continue to implement their marketing plans based upon personal preferences and perceptions, even when the report is drawn to their attention.

There was a discussion on a recent LinkedIn group we belong to titled “What works for you in marketing”, which featured a post about direct mail, which slightly morphed into door drops (predictably led by me!).

One participant actually said “Whether Graham’s (not so impartial) advice is true or not I don’t know as I’ve always steered clear of mail shots and direct mail, in my opinion they don’t give a good impression. I also don’t see direct mail as being very sustainable.”

He was taken to task by several participants in the discussion besides us and implored to consider testing by some including us, but his subsequent posts just kept repeating his blinkered approach and head in the sand attitude.

At the launch of the report, I think it was Paul Godwin who said that marketers “can tend to live in a bubble”

What I think he meant was that marketers run the risk of planning promotional activity by making just such personal judgements, particularly if their peer group consists of like minded professionals with similar views and that in fact the client’s target market may think very differently?

Marketing to the over 50’s is often considered the best example of this type of scenario, because the average age of those people creating the marketing campaign may well be significantly lower.

It may come as a surprise to you that I’m in that category (over 50!) and I have to admit to not understanding a lot of TV commercials. I’m obviously not the target market for some of them, but for those where I do think I’m a fit, I commonly find myself sitting in the armchair at night shaking my head at the concepts.

We have recently posted a great article from Marc Michaels on our website about the value of testing and its something we constantly preach.

For us, that’s commonly associated to the use of free newspapers when we are discussing our SMART-Drop service.

Clients and agencies regularly draw a sharp intake of breath when talking about free newspapers and will often admit to their views being based upon personal opinion and hearsay.

Somewhere deep in the archives at DMA tower, will be focus group research from some years ago (which I have asked the DMA to try and find), where a group of housewives in Sheffield discussed their door drop media consumption.

Now for as many years as I can remember, the Sheffield Gazette has been the only free title in Sheffield. As a result, in many weeks of the year, the grocery multiples’ leaflets would all be delivered alongside each other, which to many marketers may instantly start ringing alarm bells when considering Royal Mail door to door’s brand or service exclusivity guarantee.

Yet these housewives sat around the table openly agreeing with each other that they sat indoors on a Friday waiting for the Gazette to be delivered, to look at each of the grocery multiples’ special offers that week, before deciding upon their shopping expedition/s for that week!

Now its a reasonable bet not many marketers would similarly sit waiting for their free title to arrive, but people do!

The Marketing Gap report once again proves that as consumers we love a discount or an incentive to purchase.

And not only that.

59% of us (consumers) would miss vouchers/special offers in print form if they disappeared tomorrow.

That’s more than the web at 33% and the phone/doorstep offers at 8%.

Is there a synergy there; consumers actively look out for leaflets with their free newspapers and they love a voucher?

Worth testing?

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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