The value of Door Drops and pin boards

The Royal Mail’s recent research on the value of unaddressed door drops has taken flak but is still worth considering for some of its insights.

The top line concerned retail door drops and says that nine in 10 people are happy to “regularly receive” unaddressed mail from retailers. It also states 89% of the poll remembered receiving a door drop in the past two weeks – though doesn’t pursue whether the door drop is remembered with warmth or with a negative attitude.

As with any research commissioned by a company with a product to sell, there is always the whiff of vested interest about the conclusions. As one comment on the original story says “Who are these 81% of people who like receiving door drops from retailers – I’ve never met even one!” But it was conducted by an independent external company and the methodology has been laid open (online survey questioning 2,008 nationally representative adults underpinned with a qualitative telephone interviews).

It’s not an outrageous supposition to guess the research is being deployed to tackle recent criticisms of door drop unaddressed mail by a Panorama programme last month. In which case Royal Mail is doing the right thing in defending its business and its clients’ direct marketing tactics – otherwise it could be accused of being craven and unsupportive.

My own take on the data is that door drops succeed where they offer a discount – be it for supermarkets or a local restaurant. In straitened times this channel has to appeal directly to the household budget. Any use for brand building or brand awareness? No. For direct response and sales promotion, yes.

It’s the little nuggets of the unexpected that can make such research interesting and in this case it was Royal Mail’s claim that 45% of respondees “keep leaflets on a pin board or in the kitchen drawer”.

That is true based on my own experience but I’d elevate the pin board over the kitchen drawer – that is a black hole of coupons, press inserts and free samples.

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