Should I be apologising to agency staff?

by Graham Dodd on 13/03/2013

In our February newsletter, I wrote an update on our SMART-Drop service in terms of its continuing ability to make people sit up at presentations when we present data.

I also rather generally criticised agencies for commonly rejecting the potential benefits of tighter targeting opportunities, but often being unable to explain why.

I did, to be fair, also make the point that a lot of our recent new business has come from agencies, so I’m not lumping every agency into the same category.

Judging by one or two short and sweet emails/messages I received, I obviously upset a few people though!

But I stand by what I said last month; it would be good to know how and why you have made the judgement to reject a test?

At the very least, it may help us to further model the SMART-Drop service and make every effort to overcome such objections and ultimately provide the end client with a better product.

Since we launched SMART-Drop in May 2010, I have yet to have anyone tell me they had tried small area distributions and they did not work.

I have certainly had people tell me they have tried free newspapers (just one element of the service) in the past with no or little success – including one particularly rude agency head who even claimed to have used SMART-Drop when I can guarantee his agency have not!

But given the opportunity, I could probably explain why free newspapers have not worked for you in the past, but may well do via SMART-Drop.

My favourite and perhaps worst excuse came from a young lady in a London agency, who actually admitted she had sent my proposal to her Account Director at one of our largest competitors and they said it would not work, so she was rejecting the proposal!

For Christ’s sake what she did expect them to say; boy that looks good, move all your business out of us and use TLC!

We probably present our services including SMART-Drop most weeks of the year to clients, agencies and/or at seminars.

When the audience consists of existing door drop users (clients of my competitors) and we start talking jargon; deciles, consistent footprints, structured and staggered patterns, there is generally also admittance that this simply implies repeat coverage of the same areas.

But alongside that acknowledgement, also sits the further acknowledged truth that the target market still exists outside of those often repeated drops, but that this target market is never reached.

And it’s precisely these areas where SMART-Drop may well be able to provide a cost effective solution.

I don’t want to return to the old chestnut of testing, but it is true.

One of SMART-Drop’s biggest problems has always been that many of our competitors don’t provide a competitive service and will convince “their” clients they would if they thought it would work.

I have other views of why they don’t provide the service, but that’s another story.

But the facts are, nearly three years on from its official launch, SMART-Drop has regular users who return time after time, so it’s a reasonable assumption that the service is working for them.

The majority of SMART-Drop’s past users’ activity has been driven by MOSAIC data, but as we have developed the service since 2010, there are other interesting applications that are increasingly being accessed by a new breed of client.

So all I’m asking agencies (and clients!) is to think a little outside the box.

Allow us to create some simple test matrices for you.

It need not cost the earth.

And if you prefer to leave your regular activity with your current supplier and bolt a test on with us, that’s fine (although we will happily take on the whole process for you!).

Otherwise, all I ask is be honest and explain why you don’t think it will work.

And please, don’t ask our competitors for a view!!!

This article was written by...

– who has written 86 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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