Significant changes to Royal Mail D2D booking procedures

by Graham Dodd on 12/10/2016

Last week Royal Mail door to door have announced major changes to their booking process, which potentially effects any door drop client using their services.

Its 6 years since they last reviewed the category codes through which all bookings are created and having recognised how the market has changed in that time, the new system is designed to ultimately improve access to the service for any user.

The key changes are best summarised as :

  • 216 Category codes organised in 22 category sub-groups
  • 49 new codes
  • 12 current codes retired
  • Expanded choices in the Charity, Financial Services, Retail, Home & Garden, Entertainment & Leisure, Medical & Health and Professional Services sectors

Some of the retirees are from days gone by like the football pools, (film) development and processing and food marketing boards which are understandable.

One or two surprises, but if they are categories Royal Mail say have not been used for years, perhaps not.

The changes are designed to create more media space for all users.

Regular RM D2D clients will recognise a scenario where the sectors they require are not available in their preferred week/s, so distribution periods have to be extended to accommodate the entire booking, or, alternative distribution methods are introduced into the media plan (though that’s not necessarily a bad thing anyway, particularly where enhanced targeting opportunities are available).

Take charity door drops as an example.

Until now there was one charity category and its not been uncommon to find sectors booked well in advance of the actual distribution.

But charities distribute many different items and now the overall category has been divided into these sub sections :

Charities – Appeals for help / money
Charities – Charity bag Donations e.g. Clothing
Charities – Personal help lines & advice
Charities – Charity Event
Charities – Recruitment for help

 

So a charity wishing to door drop a legacy or acquisition leaflet will still be blocked by a “competitor”, but not if the other charity item is dropping a plastic charity bag, which would have been the case in the past.

The system will be reviewed again in Spring 2017 and there will undoubtedly be teething problems and on behalf of our clients we will raise any issues arising from the new categories, or suggest even more changes.

For instance, we have a major charity client who delivers leaflets offering to collect unwanted furniture etc., for their local shops, so we are not sure which category to use – but will find out!

The bottom line is that in future any weekly mix of items may now carry more than one charity item, as long as they still do not directly “compete” in terms of leaflet content.

Under the restaurants & takeaway category, its also now possible for a pizza leaflet to be delivered alongside a restaurant takeaway leaflet.

Restaurants & Takeaway – Home delivery (Pizza etc)
Restaurants & Takeaway – Restaurants

 

With more and more restaurants providing a home delivery service, will there be a few issues on the horizon, or does it matter at all?

The changes are likely to mean that more postal sectors will be available to clients seeking a specific week of distribution.

We hope that these changes will invite new users to the medium, happy to test the service in the specific weeks of distribution that they choose.

Overall this is a positive step, though obviously designed to help clients gain greater access to the RM D2D system, and at the same time increasing the volume they carry and the revenue they enjoy.

Undoubtedly responding to a client and confirming all their sectors are available in the distribution period required is going to be great news for any client, but will there be issues at the point of delivery?

In future, clients will need to be more detailed in their explanations about leaflet content to ensure the correct category is booked.

Please comment with your views regarding these changes and contact us on 01992 637333 if you have any questions about how these changes will affect your door to door planning.

This article was written by...

– who has written 34 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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