Testing? An under used skill of door drops?


A recent blog discussing the importance of factoring in door drop duration periods when planning campaigns (read here), provoked an interesting comment about testing.

The comment was really about testing in direct mail – copy, response mechanisms, timescales etc – but it made me think nevertheless.

On a personal basis, I receive little direct mail, but I am aware the medium is perfect for testing these facets of direct marketing, which many clients take advantage of.

But, so is door drop, where testing is not so common, yet is so simple.

The vast majority of door drop activity will be planned at postal sector level (EN8 9), where Royal Mail door to door’s average household sector count is 3,146.

Technically, personalised drops at postal sector level is therefore perfectly possible. But for larger campaigns probably a logistical print nightmare, with individual sector volumes varying from hundreds to nearly 21,000 in one east London sector!

But, clients could more easily personalise at postal district level (EN8) – there are 3,114 covering the UK – and whilst volumes will again vary considerably, that’s a more manageable average of 9,474?

One well known door drop user has over the years regularly used postcode area (EN) “personalisation” option. But with 124 options, the 238,000 average is potentially a huge volume!

I’ve always felt however that this particular client underplayed the personalisation opportunity, which came with a lead copy headline saying “Because you live in Enfield”.

Yes I live in the postcode area, but I actually live in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire rather than the London Borough of Enfield, 5.5 miles away, over 10 miles away if you live in Hoddesdon.

Would the personalisation work better if the lead copy was simply changed to “as a valued customer in the EN postcode area”? Or test different headlines across the postcode areas being covered and measure the levels of engagement?

Direct mail is also synonymous with copy tests with extend beyond just the headline, but door drop can equally accommodate those test matrices.

When planning fmcg couponing activity, redemption levels are always a critical part of the conversation.

Just recently we have been planning activity for a potential new user and a point of discussion was to test different coupon values. If the remainder of the planning process was constant – target market, drive time/distance models, timing etc., what might you learn from the test programme?

And if you are running an integrated campaign, particularly if it includes broadcast media, why not test an area or two, where door drop is the standalone promotional tool?

Test your activity timings as well. Broadcast media and door drops are a potent mix. Decades ago, a wise marketer at Proctor & Gamble said to me “broadcast media generates brand awareness, door drops stimulate purchase, put the together and hey presto!”

Broadcast media commonly begins several weeks in advance of a door drop campaign, with the subsequent door drops prompting the consumer about the brand or service and encouraging product/service purchase or usage. But there are other scenarios for timings.

At TLC, we have been planning test activity for a wide range of clients for decades and can advise of how testing can be incorporated into your media campaigns.

Feel free to email sales@letterboxconsultancy.co.uk for advice, or call Neal and Chris on 01992 637333.

Graham Dodd, CEO