Confessions of a door drop distributor

by Graham Dodd on 27/02/2013

When talking door drops with clients, I commonly find their general impression of the medium is that it is pretty straightforward, easy to arrange and simple to implement.

At TLC we certainly attempt to make that process as straightforward as possible.

But until you have actually tried your hand at the physical element of distribution, you don’t realise how many “problems” there can be.

In January I found myself helping out the local residents’ association with a leaflet drop about a local planning consultation. They have no idea what I do for a living and I have never said anything, but walking the streets for hours brought back some memories!

Armed with my 500+ leaflets, my street map and a pen I set off down the road.

I’d barely delivered more than 6 leaflets in a cul de sac, when my first challenge arose – a no junk mail sticker.

The consultation is about the potential building of a block of flats, which in my opinion is something all the residents on our estate should be aware of and have a view on.

So with the conviction that the leaflet was not junk, I despatched one through the letterbox.

I had not reached the end of the garden path when the front door opened and I was loudly berated by an irate woman who firstly and pointedly asked me if I could read.

Mumbling something vaguely about the consultation I made a hasty retreat vowing to abide by future stickers.

Shortly after, my second challenge.

A garden path was being landscaped, with the gate secured by rope.

Do I climb over the small wall trying to avoid the garden and walk on the lawn?

I hovered.

The front curtain twitched.

No, record the address as missed property and move on!

The next challenge was a low rise block of flats.

Front door locked tradesmen’s bell not working, no external letterboxes.

I rang a couple of the residents’ bells and got answer.

I’m delivering leaflets about…………….”, the intercom went dead.

More missed property.

The rest of the drop went well and now I’m on the home straight (or rather a potential route which takes me passed my local).

The last road is another cul de sac.

Another junk mail sticker, another address recorded as missed.

I’m three houses from the end, tasting a pint, when a front door opens and I’m shouted at again.

Hey. You have just delivered a leaflet to my house, but you left number 4 out?

Panicking slightly, I look around. Where’s number 4 I think?

Over there, over there” she shouts, furiously pointing at the other side of the cul de sac.

Triumphantly I reply “But it’s got a no junk mail sticker!

But this is a leaflet about the consultation and it’s not junk. My daughter will want to see this”, was the reply.

I hesitate.

I agree, but if she has got a sticker up, that implies she does not want to receive anything?

Rubbish, she will be interested” I’m told, “Give one to me

I deliver to my last couple of houses and watch the woman deliver to number 4.

Over the welcome pint, I inspect the red marks on the back of my hands gained from pushing leaflets through letterboxes and reflect upon my experiences of the last couple of hours.

The issue of what constitutes junk is a subject on its own and to some degree is growing, but I don’t recall it as an issue in the “good old days”!

But alongside no junk mail stickers, the access issues of the varying natures I experienced, which did not thankfully include having to deal with any dogs wandering around or standing in front gardens, can explain why odd properties can be missed on a drop.

Armed with this renewed knowledge, I’m thinking about offering clients the opportunity to go out and distribute for a couple of hours, to understand some of the unpredictable problems that can arise.

Then again, if they are reading this, I might have already put them off!



The public meeting that the leaflet advertised was well attended (good distribution!) and included an irate resident who swore black and blue that he did not receive a leaflet.

He lived in a road that I had covered, so after the meeting had finished I asked him for more detail about precisely where he lived.

It transpires that he lives in the flats I was not allowed access to by another resident – who he was not best pleased with, as he lives next to where the new flats may be built!

This article was written by...

– who has written 82 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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