Do increasing postal charges create an opportunity for door drop marketing?

by Graham Dodd on 16/04/2012

From the start, let me clarify that I don’t believe for one minute that the UK door drop supplier market is currently able to mount a serious challenge to direct mail.

But if we are talking cold acquisition, is the door opening?

The imminent postal charge increase has led to a frenzy of speculation of how that may affect direct mail (outgoing and inbound), so has there ever been a better time to test cold door drops versus cold direct mail?

From an image perspective, many marketers currently see door drops as a scatter gun approach in comparison to the rifle shot of direct mail – but that too is changing.

Door drops mirror many of the attributes of direct mail in terms of being an intrusive, tangible and physical medium. And to some degree, may even hold some aces in terms of the types of format which can be easily handled and delivered.

Already this year we have handled the delivery of interesting die cut items, designed to create stand out on the doormat – and client feedback is already confirming that is happening.

It’s interesting that at the same time as increasing postal charges, Royal Mail door to door has raised the upper weight limit for door drop items from 100 to 200 grammes on its rate card – and possibly even beyond.

For an item weighing in a 180-200 gramme band, delivery can be achieved at just 15p per household?

With pretty much any direct mail piece probably fitting within RM D2D’s maximum size specifications, their door has arguably been flung open for advertisers to test.

And with the remainder of the door drop industry continuing to improve its ability to target and deliver door drop items in units of hundreds of households, rather than the thousands commonly associated with postal sector door drops, the pieces of a jigsaw are starting to fit together.

For clients willing to look at test programmes, it will be critical to determine at the outset a client’s primary target market and there are reliable processes to complete those tasks.

And clients’ should never base their targeting criteria on personal preferences or perceptions.

Aspiring to an ABC1 target market is a common trait amongst marketers, but if your targeting profile is wrong, door drops are not going to work – but don’t then blame the medium.

But are marketers willing to listen to new ideas and concepts – and test?

Speaking bluntly, I think such testing rarely appears on many marketers radar.

But how will they ever discover is there are viable alternatives out there if there is no testing programme?

Interestingly, in the last few months, we have come across a small band of marketers – almost exclusively clients direct – from a range of very different backgrounds, who were prepared to dip their toes in the testing water.

Some lateral (very in some cases) thinking has been applied and test matrices created.

Only time will of course tell how the door drop activity will fare and compare, but some forward thinking clients are already committing to second stage testing activity, not being prepared to just give it one go and throw it away if it does not produce instant results.

Well done to them I say – they are almost pioneers.

Some of these clients are even undertaking the door drop activity against their agencies’ advice, which could be really interesting in the longer term.

Testing matrices can be created on relatively small budgets, but the learnings can be significant.

So, has there ever been a better time to test door drops?

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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