Direct Mail, Door to door Distribution

What’s the difference between direct mail (DM) and door to door Distribution (D2D)?

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You may well have noticed the words' direct mail' pop up throughout our site recently, and wondered what this direct mail thing is.  This blog will simply explain the differences with door to door, their strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly: which will generate the strongest return for you and your business.


What is Direct Mail?

Direct mail is where your advertising material is posted directly to a specific person. This may be a flyer, a letter enclosed in an envelope, a brochure or even a sample product such as a pen.  When we say posted it literally has a stamp (typically franked) on it and is delivered by a postman.  The specific audience is specific to your target demographic and is known by purchasing that exact data list.  See our direct mail page here.


An Example Direct Mail Campaign:

You're in the home improvement sector of windows, doors and conservatories based in Manchester.  You are pushing the in product, warm roofs (which are a special roof for conservatories to prevent losing heat in winter and overheating in summer). You request to have a design of a folded leaflet to show the benefits of the product and would like to include a printed personalised letter (Dear Joe Bloggs) to make your offering personal and to include a unique offer.  All of this is then printed and enclosed in an envelope.  A specific data list is then purchased relevant to your offering. In this case, it is people who have a conservatory living within a 10 mile radius of your showroom in Manchester.  Quantities can be from just 1000 people per campaign. 


Why is This Better Than Door to Door?

With a door to door Distribution this level of targeting is not possible. Even if specific instructions were given to the distributors only to deliver to houses with conservatories, the realistic level of accuracy would be nominal as conservatories are typically around the back, out of view. 


Direct Mail Sounds Perfect, so Why Use Door to Door Distribution?

Based on the example above, direct mail certainly trumps door to door.  However, as you will read in a moment, there are many instances where door to door comes out on top. 


What is Door to Door Distribution? 

Door to door Distribution is where your flyer is delivered not on an address level but on a map sector or postcode level.  You will typically deliver a flyer, folded leaflet or small brochure with this service.  It is a mass-market service, though targeting is still very much involved.  Your flyer will either be delivered shared (with other non competing flyers) or solus (just your flyer).  The distributors will typically be concentrating on one area per day and ordinarily go to every residential address within their given area, literally door to door (hence the name!). Typically a Distribution is from 7,500 ranging up to the millions.  See our door to door page here.


An Example Door to Door Distribution Campaign:

Sticking with the Manchester based home improvement business example, you are looking to expand your business through marketing windows, doors and conservatories.  You identify your niche or USP (unique selling point) as safety. You then have a flyer designed to highlight the increased crime rate in the area (or the UK) and position your products as the solution (e.g. Keep your kids safe with...).  This time you want to cover a 3 mile radius from your showroom targeting homeowners (as they have the option to change their windows and doors).  The count comes to 25,000, so you have 25,000 flyers printed.  You opt for a shared distribution, and these are distributed over a one week period. 


How Would Direct Mail Work for This?

Simply, it wouldn't. Direct mail is only for a very specific audience. You could target people recently broken into, but that would be a very expensive data list and a sensitive audience.  Door to door distribution identifies a problem or need which a good chunk of people may be affected by and presents your business as the solution. 


Which is Best?

Hopefully these examples clarify that one is not better than the other, but that one may be more appropriate than the other depending on what you're advertising. Likewise, as the example illustrates, the home improvement business would benefit massively from both services.  This is the case with most business sectors.


How to Choose?

All the deciding of design, identifying the USP, creating your business as the solution, choosing which marketing strategy to use, and all the other bits that form a coherent campaign don't need to be decided alone.  At Mr Flyer our experienced sales consultants can discuss with you what you are hoping to achieve, and recommend the most appropriate solution for you, and then do all the work on your behalf (strategy, design, print, delivery, etc.).  


Contact us today and we can help build your business and build your brand through expert print marketing.