TLC door drop newsletter – April

by Team on 01/05/2015

Are complaints a true measure of door drop efficiency? 

Clients rightly raise distribution quality concerns based upon suggestions of non receipt from residents, staff, colleagues, family or friends.

Many clients will have a view on the reliability levels of Royal Mail door to door, free newspapers and/or team distribution sometimes based upon personal experience, but commonly only based upon perception and hearsay.

As a specialist door drop consultancy, planning the distribution of millions of items every year, we probably have a better general overview of each system’s strengths and weaknesses and will always provide clients with our views, but its ultimately up to any client whether they take our advice or run with their own opinions.

We would always understand a client’s view if the campaign in question is effectively repeat activity, but if previous issues have arisen in Bristol, it does not necessarily mean they will be repeated in Newcastle.

And that assumes the Bristol issues were genuine in the first place.

Some business sectors attract particular types of complaint.

Public sector activity, commonly distributed by Royal Mail, can attract coverage queries sometimes answered by the fact that the complainant has opted out of receiving unaddressed promotional material.

That can subsequently trigger a debate about wanting the local council magazine, but not pizza or grocery leaflets.

Opt out cannot be selective, but at least its answers the non receipt query.

There is an abundance of research which confirms how as consumers we love a voucher or a discount.

When working with the hospitality sector, a leaflet offering a free drink/starter/dessert  (where its often the case that the leaflet carries no data capture mechanic), complaints that “my neighbours received a leaflet but I did not”, always seem to arise!

Where there is any form of data capture, an interesting analysis is always how many people from the road in question HAVE redeemed the voucher perhaps against the one person claiming non receipt!

That’s a distinction which can actually apply to many non receipt claims.

And there is a difference between recall and distribution quality.

My favourite anecdote relates to an unnamed local Hertfordshire Council.

I was summoned to attend a Council meeting some years ago at very short notice, because the Leader of the Council had not received a copy of the magazine and she Chaired the committee responsible.

I had barely taken my files out of my briefcase when she launched into a tirade bordering on the rude, which nearly had me putting my papers back in my briefcase and leaving!

Whilst the tirade continued, another Councillor sitting across the table from her kept trying to speak, but she repeatedly waved his attempts at interrupting away.

Finally she stopped; finally he (the husband) spoke “sorry Sue your wrong, it came on Tuesday and I put it in the newspaper rack”!

Job done!

And that so often can be the case, somebody else in the house has actually seen the item and left it somewhere in the house (brand new research proves that!).

Stepcheck, one the UK’s leading door drop validation companies have a tree of questions for their door drop research service.

Having shown a copy of the item to prompt recall, if the interviewee still claims non receipt, asking somebody else in the house if they have seen the item commonly turns a negative response into a positive one.

Independent research also exists which demonstrates that on perfect, guaranteed distribution, recall levels on two different items can be scarily low just a week after actual distribution – after which it continues to tail away.

Door drops are of course not a perfect science and there will always be issues arising, but don’t assume the odd negative response indicates widespread poor distribution as there may be other explanations.

And its always worth checking the complainant does live in the distribution area in the first place as well!

NB: This is the content of The Letterbox Consultancy newsletter, released on 24th April 2015. If you would like to receive this newsletter on the day of release, please get in touch.

Our newsletters are designed to keep you updated with industry news, so if any of your colleagues, staff or clients would like to receive future copies of the newsletter, please ask them to visit the Contact Page on our website and register their interest, or just email us on

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