Magazine article Marketing

About-Turn for the Door Drop

Magazine article Marketing

About-Turn for the Door Drop

Article excerpt

Imagination and creativity are the keys to boosting door-drop impact and stimulating consumer interest, says Emily Booth

One of the most distinguishing aspects about door drops is that nobody wants them. Think about it. You buy a newspaper or magazine in the full knowledge that they will be stuffed with ads, or you switch on the TV in your home and 'invite' commercials into your living room. Even direct mail has your name and address on it.

"Door drops at worst are pieces of unsolicited, unwanted litter dropped on your door step by someone you don't know," says David Harris, executive creative director of IMP. "But their potential is huge," he adds.

The trick is to turn an apparent disadvantage into a strength. Unexpected can mean impactful; unaddressed can mean immediate. And the key to success is creativity.

"A door drop has to have some worth, and that worth can only come from creativity," continues Harris.

Steve Chipperfield, chairman of agency CCHM, adds: "Most people find the door drop about as welcome as a call from the local tom cat. It takes creativity to turn that around."

Empathic gesture

The issue is so important that last year the door drop company Circular Distributors (CD) commissioned research into how creativity within the medium could be improved. Eight focus groups and a team of three creative directors (Harris included) were interviewed, and the results are the nearest thing to a set of creative 'rules' that the industry has.

"The research was put together to identify the directional points of door drops," explains Nick Wells, managing director of CD. "It emerged that door drops need to have impact, relevance and reflect the brand identity. The challenge is to involve people by linking creativity to the targeting."

Which is easier said than done. At heart it is a case of thinking imaginatively, and with empathy. Your audience is a group of everyday people with the stresses and strains of everyday life. After they have picked out their personal letters and sifted through the bills, that's when they turn to your door drop.

"You've got less than a minute before someone walks to the bin and throws it away," says Graham Dodd, managing director of The Letterbox Consultancy. In those seconds the recipient notices the quality of the paper (avoid the loo roll variety), the colour (primary colours work best), the brand (flag it up clearly) and the offer (people expect a sample or an offer from an FMCG company).

An interesting exercise is to consider what makes a bad door drop. The list is long. "Over-complicated copy, boring copy, low production values, low levels of branding, and an offer you can't fulfil," muses Wells. Learn from other's mistakes, such as the door drop that didn't fit through the letterbox. Or the stunning creative that made the door drop too heavy, which pushed the delivery costs up.

Companies which want to get ahead in the door drop game think about how they can involve the recipient. Using shape in an engaging way, for example, will do wonders for response. The average door drop is an A4 size leaflet, or A4 folded to A5. Do something different and it will stand out. "If you can create novelty, that's not a bad idea," says Wells. Bella Pasta gets the thumbs up for a wine-bottle shaped mailing with a menu on the back, which sums up the ambience of the restaurant. …

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