How can you prove my door drop has taken place (part 2)

by Graham Dodd on 08/09/2017

Last week I published a blog on how door drops are verified.

Within the copy I referenced control cells, where perfect distribution does not necessarily generate perfect recall, which prompted some emails asking me to explain what precisely I meant.

It’s quite simple really.

Walk down a road today and put a leaflet, magazine, newspaper, coupon, even a free sample through every letterbox.

Tomorrow, walk down the same road, knock on every door and question residents about receipt of the distributed item; you will not generate perfect recall.

And if your research is completed by telephone, recall may be slightly lower because the researcher can only prompt the resident about the item’s appearance rather being able to show the item.

Recently, a client of ours was concerned about the quality of a regular distribution that they book through TLC, despite a series of telephone research results consistently falling into a range of positive recall from 72-85% (pretty good I thought!).

Therefore, we undertook a control cell where ‘perfect distribution’ was observed. This produced a recall score of 80%, at the top end of general range.

Our interpretation of the quarterly results in comparison to the test cell results, was that good quality solus distribution was consistently being achieved.

The client was still a little sceptical, so we arranged for their staff to distribute the door drop item in some areas, which would then be tele checked in the same manner as the rest of the drop.

Perfect distribution was achieved in their areas – but their research areas “only” scored 81.5% recall, proving still further that our assertion of good, consistent distribution was being achieved and the results did not indicate there was a distribution quality issue.

But there are some simple answers as to why recall falls well below 100% even on perfect distribution.

The person interviewed may not have been at home at the point of delivery and simply may not have seen the item in question if somebody else has moved it from the doormat.

If not prompted during the interview to ask anyone else in the house about receipt, it will remain a negative response.

Alternatively, they may not be interested in the subject matter and a “no” tends to close any interview process quickly, because a “yes” can lead to further questioning.

On coupon and product sampling campaigns, it’s not unknown for residents to claim non receipt in the hope that they may be handed/sent another item!

Of course, on any standard form of distribution, the quality of distribution is always a factor.

But the distribution item also has a role to play in prompting recall.

The creative content of the front AND back pages must stimulate interest, the promotional incentive or call to action must be prominent, memorable and inviting, whilst the item should be printed on good quality paper.

A few years, a Council we were working with produced a magazine 10 times a year, to be distributed in one of the most challenging areas of London.

They insisted on independent telephone research being overlaid as part of the contract.

Month on month, consistently good scores were achieved on a distribution completed by Royal Mail door to door.

One month, the Dalai Lama visited the Borough and his image formed the front page of the magazine the month after.

Recall of that edition shot up by a double digit score to the highest ever achieved!

Like door drop, research is not necessarily a perfect science and as the late Arthur Thompson, founder of Stepcheck once said “validation is an imperfect measure of an imprecise medium”.

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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