Direct Mail, Door to door Distribution, Marketing

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

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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. In this revised and updated blog, we will explore the differences between door-to-door and direct mail and establish 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" (pun intended!) to a specific person. The format varies from a postcard, a letter in an envelope, a brochure or even a sample product/gift. When we say posted, it literally is stamped and delivered by a postman. The audience is either from data purchased to match your specific target demographic or to your existing client base. Direct mail is usually for 1,000+ quantities.

An Example Direct Mail Campaign

An example direct mail campaign could be for a 'Mr Windows', a company in the home improvement sector of windows, doors and conservatories based in Manchester. You are pushing your best seller, warm roofs (a lightweight roof specific for conservatories to reduce heat loss in winter and overheating in summer). You request a folded leaflet design to show the product's benefits and include a personalised letter (Dear Joe Bloggs) to make your offering personal. 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, homeowners with a conservatory living within a 10-mile radius of your Manchester showroom.

Why some Direct Mail campaigns are better than door to door distribution?

With a door-to-door distribution, this target level is impossible. The reason is that door to door targets postcode sectors, such as HD6 1, rather than a complete address. Continuing with the Mr Windows example, a leaflet drop could easily reach every house within a 10-mile radius. However, the large majority of recipients would have no benefit from a warm roof marketing message.

Direct Mail Sounds Perfect, So Why Use Flyer Distribution?

Based on the example above, direct mail certainly trumps flyer distribution. 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 leaflet distribution is where your flyer is delivered not on an address level but on a map sector or postcode level (such as HD6 1, HD6 2 and so on). 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) to each address in that postcode sector. You can also choose whether to include or exclude businesses within the postcode. Typically a Distribution is from 7,500 ranging up to the millions.

An Example Door to Door Distribution Campaign

Sticking with Mr Windows, you are looking to expand your business through marketing windows, doors and conservatories. First, you identify your niche or USP (unique selling point) as safety. You then have a leaflet design to highlight the increased crime rate in the area (or the UK) and position your products as the solution (e.g. Keep Your Family Safe This Summer With...). Again targeting the same 10-mile radius from your showroom, targeting homeowners (as they have the option to change their windows and doors). The demographic report recommends postcodes producing a total of 35,000 addresses. You then print and distribute the 35,000.

How Would Direct Mail Work for This?

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

Which is Best: direct mail or door to door distribution?

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 when you have to make a decision?

Often clients wonder if the choice comes down to price, and sometimes it does. For example, on average, direct mail will cost 4-5 times more per item than leaflet distribution. However, suppose the targeting means you only need to go to 1/5 of the people and that those people are more likely to respond as the marketing message is so relevant to them. In that case, the two services often balance out.

All the decisions for 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 what you are hoping to achieve, recommend the most appropriate solution(s), and then do all the work on your behalf.

Contact us today, and we can help build your business and build your brand through expert print marketing -both direct mail and door to door.