Tag Archives: door drop

Eye-catching leaflet design: why less is more

Leaflet dropping is all about catching people’s attention and making an impression. Make the right impression and that leaflet will not only be kept, it will be acted upon. Whether you need your potential customers to act on a short time offer, or you simply want to make them aware of the services you offer, your results are directly linked to the design of the leaflet. It needs to be eye-catching and in keeping with the style of your business so that your customers know what to expect and can’t resist reading the whole leaflet.

Leaflet design is not as straightforward as you might imagine. The temptation is there to fill up all the available space with text, getting as much information to your customer as you can. However, you only get three seconds to make a good enough first impression to grab their attention and not let go.

Fill the page with text and they will scan it until they find anything in bold, explaining the ultimate point of the leaflet. So ultimately you are only holding their attention with a sentence or title, wasting the rest of the leaflet and we all know that this just isn’t enough to make a good first impression. Not to mention, text-only leaflets usually come from political or religious organisations, which slims down your chance of having the full leaflet read as many people will assume they are not interested before reading it.

A well-designed leaflet will find a perfect balance between images and text. You need enough information to explain the purpose of the leaflet and the type of business you have, but it needs to be displayed in an eye-catching manner, in as few words as possible and in an easy to read font. You need to make it easy for the customer and do the work for them. To make it eye-catching include vibrant designs and images that stand out from the usual style seen on similar leaflets and businesses. The impact of the leaflet rests solely on the design, so don’t be afraid to be imaginative.

The whole idea behind leaflet dropping is to gain a response and generate further business. A well-designed leaflet has been shown to double and even triple the response rate in some cases. Make it easy for your customers and give them what they want in terms of design and content and you are much more likely to have a successful response from your leaflet delivery.

By DMA guest blogger Jeff Franklin, Franchise Director, DOR-2-DOR (UK)


Is the future of public sector communications with residents, offline, online, or both? – Part 2

Part 2 of a 2-part blog on print and online communication from local and county councils

The DMA Door Drop Committee commissioned research in November 2013 to determine the extent of the gap in understanding between householders and local and county council marketers in terms of how they want to be communicated with.

A six-question online survey was sent to 1,000+ consumers via Toluna QuickSurveys. The same survey was also sent, with the help of The Letterbox Consultancy to 800 marketers (13.25% response rate – 106 completed responses) based in local and county councils. In this blog ‘marketer’ denotes ‘marketers from local and county councils only’ and not the industry at large.

Print, online or both?


- 40% of consumers prefer receiving communication in print (marketers 21%), 39% prefer online (marketers 22%), whilst 21% of consumers actually want communication via both channels (marketers 57%)

- Over 60% of 18-34 year-olds would prefer to receive communication in online form only, or online and print form. Nearly half (47.5%) of 18-34 year-olds go online twice or less per year to access information about their local council

- 42% of women are more inclined to receive communication in print form than men 36%

Are consumers searching online for information from local and county councils?



- 18% of consumers never search online for information from their local/county council (marketers 1%)

- When considering only 18-34 year-olds and 55+ year-olds, the number of people that never search online increases to over 21%

- Only 21% of consumers search for information once every three months, in comparison to marketers’ beliefs that nearly double (41%) actually search

- Just 14% of consumers search online for information at least once every fortnight (marketers 20%)


Given that local/county councils provide residents with numerous services, consumers would generally be favourable to receiving information from them, as they’re mostly trusted organisations. Over 73% of consumers openly state that they want to receive communication from their local authority.

A similarly high proportion of consumers (74%) expect to hear from their local authority at least on a quarterly basis, with many wanting more regular communication. There is a demand for information from the local authority.

When considering how information can be made available to consumers, only 13% state that they’re unlikely to read local authority communication that is provided in print form. Direct mail and print media score highly for trust (according to Letterbox to inbox July 2013), and over 71% of consumers want print to play a part in the communication that they receive from their local authority.

Consider the younger generation: over two thirds of 18-34 year-olds want to hear from their local authority on a quarterly basis or more regularly, and over 60% would prefer to receive that communication online, or in online and print form. However, nearly half of 18-34 year-olds search for information about their local authority online twice or less per year. There is a disconnect between consumers (particularly young) believing that they want information online, with how likely they actually are to go out and find that information online.

Furthermore, over 35% of consumers never search for information about their local authority online, or only search once a year. How likely are those consumers, therefore, to read a Council newsletter online?

Marketers have slightly over estimated the degree and frequency to which consumers want to hear from their local authority, but have rightly estimated that a far greater proportion of consumers are unlikely to search online for local authority information than they are to read information in print form.

However, it would appear that marketers have severely underestimated how many consumers would never search for information about their local authority online.


The initial conclusion to draw from these survey results is that a local authority’s choice of media channel, through which to promote their council newsletter/magazine, will directly affect the likelihood that the people within their local authority will read it.

Consumers express a greater preference to receiving information from their local authority in print form, and though many are happy to receive information online, the lack of print option will affect the number of people that choose to read the information.

More pointedly, there is a clear distinction between the regularity that consumers search for information about their local authority online, compared with those that read information in print form.

If you consider this as a comparison between picking up and reading an item that has been delivered through your letterbox with an item that has been published on a page of the council web site, it is perhaps understandable.

Local authorities are under terrific pressure to reduce their budgets, and it is understood that an online version of a printed newsletter or magazine will have significant cost benefits.
However, the findings of this survey raise the question of how damaging an online-only approach can be to readership levels – with a significant proportion guaranteed not to see the item, because they never search online for local authority information.

Whilst many local authorities continue to produce communication in printed format, it is perhaps time for other local authorities – that have moved to online-only – to review the value of print, and to consult experts about how costs can be reduced without losing the effectiveness of the printed item entirely.

Read part 1 of the blog 

By guest bloggers from the DMA Door Drop Committee

Advertising mail on the up in 2014

Mail is back! What a relief after the last five years of wondering what was happening and worrying about how fragile the market for the physical mail product was at last there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe you hadn’t noticed how the number of letters you received seemed to disappear from the door mat. Or the constant encouragement to go online with your bills and statements. And to add insult to injury we were asked to pay for a paper bill. It all started looking better at the end of 2012 and the demand has continued to increase through 2013. Continue reading

One digital native discovers the wonderful world of print

Entering the direct marketing world as a digital native, I was quite oblivious to the developments that have taken place in print technology over the last few years. Having met a few marketing folk since I joined the DMA I must say I am much more informed now. So if there are any young marketers out there who think offline and digital are different channels, think again. The lines are blurring, and surprisingly have been blurry for a quite while now! Continue reading

Door drop industry celebrates its best with Arthur Thompson Memorial Award

Earlier this month the door drop industry’s highest accolade, the Arthur Thomson Memorial Trophy, was presented to Chris Roxburgh, the former MD of LinkDirect Ltd and long-time serving member of the DMA Door Drop Council and its MLA working party in recognition of his contribution to the door drop industry over the course of his 40-year career.

The Arthur Thompson Award was created by the DMA Door Drop Council following the death in 2006 of Arthur Thompson as a memorial to a man that made an immense contribution to growing the door drop industry. The Award is presented when one person is singled out for recognition by his peers for their outstanding work in developing the door drop industry.

At a lunch in his honour attended by 14 former industry peers, Chris was presented with an engraved trophy by Steve Thompson, managing director of Stepcheck in memory of his father. I too paid tribute to Chris in a speech which outlined his career which spans over 40 years in the direct marketing industry.

Chris was a founder member of the British Household Distribution Association, which merged into the Association of Household Distributors, which subsequently merged into the DMA and was a founder member of the Door Drop Council, which he served for over a decade. At that point, Chris also chaired the Committee which updated the AHD Code of Practice and Best Practice Guidelines into a DMA format. When the Membership, Legal and Administrative Committee was formed under the chair of Roger Sparrow, Chris became a member for over a decade which entailed constant travel from his base on the Wirral. Chris was also a leading figure in the creation of the Your Choice preference service, which to this day, is still a cornerstone of the industry’s opt out service.

In response, to the tributes Chris said he was “Honoured to have received the award and flattered to become only the fifth recipient of an award in memory of a man who was an industry giant, following from other industry leaders.”

I can say that Chris truly deserves to be in such illustrious company.

Previous recipients of the Arthur Thompson Memorial Trophy:

2013 – Chris Roxburgh
2011 – Roger Sparrow
2010 – Jayne Ferguson & Steve Mulvihill
2007 – Peter Morgan

By DMA guest blogger Graham Dodd, Managing Director of The Letterbox Consultancy

FMCG media planners are missing a trick

I believe FMCG marketers are missing a strategic trick on reaching target people and getting inside their heads. I’m going to call this trick ‘new advertising mail’ and anyone involved in FMCG should embrace it.

At the DMA’s Leaping off the page seminar in June, media guru David Brennan said no media channel is dead, it’s just how people use them in their buying journey that changes.

Then Mike Colling (MC&C), Linzi Clingan (Golden Charter), Liz Curry (Comic Relief), Tim Drye (Data Talk), and Sam Grimley (Blippar) shared nugget after nugget of proof on the power and place of advertising mail in the media and creative comms schedule and its impressive comparative ROIs.

Why digital cannot replace advertising mail
In 2004 Facebook launched and over the next six years the dazzle of digital pushed paper-based direct marketing aside. Hundreds of millions of pounds of shareholder funds in the form of marketing budget were hosed into the market on seemingly exciting, new wave digital campaigns, often however with questionable accountability.

So why during the last three years has there been a trend resurgence in advertising mail? (industry stats presented by Mark Young). Because quite frankly digital doesn’t turn people on all the time. More and more people are sick of the hijacking of social space by commerce. We’re all fazed by the volume of emails we have to manage every day. And on top of that, Twitterdom, World of Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest, blah blah and more blah blah.

What’s crucial is BALANCE. Not forgetting powerful response generating tools that work.

Of course the wibbly wobbly web and all its constituent elements and inventions are exciting and surprising. And the burgeoning real-time smartphone connection dynamics are frighteningly game changing.

Media planners wrong to ignore advertising mail
Printed advertising mail has fallen off the media mix radar and that’s stupid because consumers like it. CCB Fast.MAP has proved that. And the highest response from advertising mail comes from 18 to 25 year olds; the second highest after ‘busy housewives’.

Media agencies that control the majority of client budget in the UK don’t push it. Clients aren’t questioning what the media agencies recommend because in my experience they don’t know the right questions to ask.  Brand and marketing managers in their late 20s and early 30s don’t know because when they started work eight to 10 years ago (after college, uni or apprenticeship) they were being bombarded by the digital wave. Direct mail was what their parents did.

So, all the learnings from decades of direct marketing testing by the likes of Stan Rapp, Tom Collins, Drayton Bird paled into old hat past annals. Why? Human nature hasn’t changed that much, just a few new gadgets and widgets enabling a wider choice of comms consumption.

So REDEPLOYMENT is key. David Brennan talks about the appeal of at home media like TV and mail because they’re consumed behind closed doors, pulling emotional strings that ‘nudge’ people positively way before they’re into the shopping melee.

Advertising mail in the digital age
Printed advertising mail works because it is tangible, tactile, durable, real/not virtual, in the main trusted, and ‘mine’.

The big difference post 2010 versus pre 2004 is creative digital technology using smartphones can now hugely enhance the 3D experience your target consumer enjoys from printed advertising mail, and seed, or obviate, or shorten the continuing journey online… whether it’s addressed ‘Dear Mr Smith’ or unaddressed advertising mail (which is 10 times cheaper) such as SMART-Drop direct promotional advertising. It’s cost effective too – the media cost is no more expensive than cheap broadcast TV, but way more targetable to prospect households in the UK you want to reach.

The moral of the story?
1) Media agencies, hello, please change your media planning tools to include ‘new advertising mail/personalised addressed’ and ‘new advertising mail/unaddressed targeted door drop’. There are hundreds of case studies proving the profitability for clients. But they are each isolated microcosms of success, hidden in the main from the top table discussions between media planners and client marketers.

2) FMCG client marketers, hello, please take charge of your budgets that are shareholders’ funds, be more diligent in the accountability of your spend, put yourselves in your target consumer’s shoes and think how they would like to be communicated with, not just what your media agencies tell you. You might find some interesting new tests are worthwhile, beautifully written text on printed mail that springs to life with QR and AR image recognition to boost response and shorten the journey to purchase.

3) We’re missing a trick and to be successful in the future we should make the most of the opportunities we have.

Welcome to the world of ‘new advertising mail’.

Recipients like it more than many other media channels, so it should be PLANNED like a proper media channel.

By DMA guest blogger Rick Pullan, Managing Director, TBDA and  DMA Agencies Council member

Get insights into why print plays a vital role in the customer journey and hear the results of the DMA/fast.MAP/HP print tracking report at From letterbox to inbox – building customer relationships on Tuesday 15 October.
- See more at: http://dmablogs.org.uk/index.php/fmcg-media-planners-are-missing-a-trick/#sthash.fu6Lah6L.dpuf

Will increased postal charges create an opportunity for door drop marketing?

From the start, let me clarify that I don’t believe for one minute that the UK door drop supplier market is currently able to mount a serious challenge to direct mail.

But if we’re talking cold acquisition, is the door opening?

The imminent postal charge increase has led to a frenzy of speculation of how that may affect direct mail (outgoing and inbound), so has there ever been a better time to test cold door drops versus cold direct mail?

From an image perspective, many marketers currently see door drops as a scatter gun approach in comparison to the rifle shot of direct mail – but that too is changing.

Door drops mirror many of the attributes of direct mail in terms of being a tangible and physical medium. And to some degree, may even hold some aces in terms of the types of format which can be easily handled and delivered.

Already this year we’ve handled the delivery of interesting die cut items, designed to create stand out on the doormat – and client feedback is already confirming that is happening.

It’s interesting that at the same time as increasing postal charges, Royal Mail door-to-door has raised the upper weight limit for door drop items from 100 to 200 grammes on its rate card – and possibly even beyond.

For an item weighing in a 180-200 gramme band, can delivery be achieved at just 15p per household?

With pretty much any direct mail piece probably fitting within RM D2D’s maximum size specifications, their door has arguably been flung open for advertisers to test.

And with the remainder of the door drop sector continuing to improve its ability to target and deliver door drop items in units of hundreds of households, rather than the thousands commonly associated with postal sector door drops, the pieces of a jigsaw are starting to fit together.

For clients willing to look at test programmes, it will be critical to determine at the outset a client’s primary target market and there are reliable processes to complete those tasks.

And clients’ should never base their targeting criteria on personal preferences or perceptions.

Aspiring to an ABC1 target market is a common trait amongst marketers, but if your targeting profile is wrong, door drops are not going to work – but don’t then blame the medium.

But are marketers willing to listen to new ideas and concepts – and test?

Speaking bluntly, I think such testing rarely appears on many marketers radar.

But how will they ever discover is there are viable alternatives out there if there is no testing programme?

Interestingly, in the last few months, we have come across a small band of marketers – almost exclusively clients direct – from a range of very different backgrounds who were prepared to dip their toes in the testing water.

Some lateral (very in some cases) thinking has been applied and test matrices created.

Only time will of course tell how the door drop activity will fare and compare, but some forward thinking clients are already committing to second stage testing activity, not being prepared to just give it one go and throw it away if it does not produce instant results.

Well done to them I say – they are almost pioneers.

Some of these clients are even undertaking the door drop activity against their agencies’ advice, which could be really interesting in the longer term.

Testing matrices can be created on relatively small budgets, but the learnings can be significant.

So, has there ever been a better time to test door drops?

Guest blogger Graham Dodd is the MD of the The Letterbox Consultancy. He has over 40 years of experience in the UK door drop sector, is a fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing and a former member of the DMA’s Door Drop Council.