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Is this the end of the road for door drops?

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Recent research suggests that volumes of door drops have declined – but that may offer some good news for marketers.

The Annual Door Drop Industry Report 2014 published by the DMA on 31st July 2014, revealed that this channel of marketing fell in volume during the previous year, with numbers dropping to 6.5 billion during 2013, down by 9% from 7.2 billion in 2012. Overall expenditure on this medium was also lower, tumbling by 2.6%, down by £7 million in 2013 to £259 million. Door drop media includes product samples as well as newsletters, catalogues and leaflets.

For a while door drops have been seen as a blunt instrument in a marketing world of increasingly sharp tools, but they have continued to play an important role – particularly for smaller, local businesses that have traditionally used door drops to highlight services, products and special offers. This market is unlikely to change and probably accounts for the majority of door drops in the UK. They are unlikely to be affected by the increased levels of sophistication that are available today – or the increased mix of digital and traditional direct marketing that many organisations are able to achieve today.

Increased availability of data, more sophisticated analysis of this data and the integration with CRM means that many organisations can offer far more targeted marketing. Improved Variable Data Print techniques and software (and the consequent cost reductions) has also meant that increased levels of personalisation (and consequent effect on response rates) are being used by more and more businesses.

However, the Door Drop Board Committee were keen to emphasise the fact that the drop in volume doesn’t necessarily spell bad news for the industry, but rather highlights a change in strategy for those that opt to use this method. The chair of the Committee, Philip Ricketts, described the “micro-targeting” within door drops, with “multi-channel integration” helping to allow this type of marketing to become “more sophisticated” and evolved. Mr Ricketts pointed to the wide ranging and diverse entries in the door drop category in the DMA awards for 2013 as proof that the medium still has a very important role to play in helping to reach the customer.

He went on to explain that part of the reason for the fall in numbers was due to the continuing reduction in the circulation of free newspapers, but insisted that the future was bright for door drop media. Rather than using bulk methods, the chair of the committee said that companies would continue to “innovate” and use their “tracking methodology” to allow them to have the greatest levels of confidence in using door drops in the future.

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