A personal post, yet work related


Searching through personal files recently, my wife made two amazing finds, one I’ll share, the other I’ll allude to.

The Marketforce letter offering me employment was my first ever job in what was then called the house to house distribution industry.

Just look at some of the letterheading content; Telex and Cable contact details alongside an old format telephone number, a weekly salary of £14. 10s. 0d (old money!), but three weeks holiday!

A list if directors of which I only remember three. Dick Bentley as MD who I rarely spoke to but had such an aura about him, Geoff Foulkes, my ultimate boss who scared the living daylights out of me and Mervyn Arkell, a really nice man who over the last 20 years I have met again at Marketforce reunions.

This letter heralded the start of my long career in the door drop industry and I have never really regretted leaving the Midland Bank, my first and only other job when I left school.

Had some great years at Marketforce and learned so much, thanks principally to my Sales Manager when the company moved to Dalston Lane; the one and only Alan Crossman.

Upon reflection, I still think to this day I use skills Alan passed on. Perhaps the greatest of those was to always be myself and don’t pretend to be anything different to suit individual situations or people and to speak my mind.

By the early 80’s I was doing pretty well, which brings me to a letter dated March 14th, 1984.

The late Peter Morgan, a true gentleman of the door drop industry and Managing Director at the time of our biggest competitors Circular Distributors, approached me about joining CD.

We had several lunches and long chats and I took the offer very seriously, though ultimately declined the approach. The main reasons were travel to Maidenhead from Cheshunt and a loyalty to Marketforce who had taught me so much.

But the discussions were serious and the letter lays out potential clients and the sales values I felt I could take with me, which many readers will have never heard of!

Dolphin Showers (Trevor Harris), where I learned very early on about frequency of household coverage and copy changes, Co-operative Insurance Society (at £2.50 per 1,000 probably the cheapest rates in the industry!), Woolworths, Halfords and what were then called sales promotion agencies; Clarke Hooper (John Hooper, Barry Clarke, Clive Mishon), Michael Bartman, Underline, Marketing Partnership to name but a few.

And this was also the era of free film envelopes, Grunwick, Bonusprint and Truprint.

Mail order was big business; Grattan (where I first met Judith Donovan), Empire Stores, Littlewoods, Damart, Plumbs etc.

FMCG was dominated by Kraft Foods, Proctor & Gamble, Lever Brothers, Batchelors, Kellogg’s, General Foods, Lyons Tetley, Rowntree and many more.

Wow, how times have changed.

Some of these names are still recognisable today, but have fallen out of door drop – now there’s a test opportunity for them to think about!

But its made me think quite a lot about the past since we found the letters.

Are there any of my old workmates reading this? I know some of us are LinkedIn but probably haven’t spoken for years, so would be great to see some comments.

Or were you a Marketforce client. Did you even do business with me? Feel free to get in touch!

Graham Dodd, Managing Director