We were recently contacted by Channel 10's "The Project" asking to comment on Door Knocking versus e-Marketing. This led me to ponder the relative merits of each technique and I thought I would share them with you here
I am biased
Before I write anything, I should disclose that I hate door knockers - especially those from electricity companies. We get on average one door knocker a week asking us to see our electricity bill. By asking this, they sare using it as a sales technique to prove that their company is cheaper or better. It's irritating! It's unwanted and it's spammy. Maybe 10 years ago I would have listened to them but these days I don't.
They could be offering me electricity for free for all I care but I am deaf to their offers of help.
Because I am so annoyed at being interrupted so often. I now no longer listen. Which leads me to the point that when you have lots of businesses from the same industry doing the same thing - it no longer works. All you do is annoy the customer.
You are being interrupted
This is the fundamental problem with door knocking - they are interrupting you when you don't have a problem and are not necessarily motivated to make a buying decision.
Wouldn't you prefer to choose
Compare this to e-marketing. A user types in a query related to "electricity prices" or "save money on electricity" in Google (or Bing) and is rewarded with a long list of electricity companies prepared to give you price estimates anonymously. Beautiful. Most likely they typed in the query when they just received their electricity bill and discovered their bill was a lot higher than normal (not hard with the carbon tax).
While they were searching, maybe they saw an ad offering them a free quote or an offer to save 5% of their electricity bill.
How motivated do you think the searcher would be? Pretty high I'd say.
Compare this to our friend the door knocker - who has essentially interrupted you from an activity such as feeding the baby, cooking dinner or soothing a crying child.
They often approach you at times when you are least receptive to buying.
Now I am sure door knocking still works - why else would companies continue to do it? But you don't often see the data for how effective it is. Nor do you see the costs.
What are the advantages?
It does offer a couple of advantages. These are:
- Ability to have a one on one conversation with a buyer
- No competition - at the time of the knock
- Harder for a person to say no to someone who lands on their doorstep
Marketing is fundamentally changing. Interruption marketing is becoming less effective. Today's consumer has more power and freedom. It's easier to research and compare products and services. If you can't compete on price perhaps you need to think about how you can compete by building a relationship with your customers or even your potential customers.
Before you consider door knocking it might be worth:
- Doing a survey to potential customers to find out how often they get people knocking on their door - if they get a lot of door knockers maybe another method might be more effective
- Looking at alternative methods such as Google Adwords & working out the potential cost per lead for each of the available alternatives