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From mass media to personalised


Doordrop media is under pressure. With the looming introduction of the JA/JA sticker – where residents have to place a sticker on their mailbox to continue to receive leaflets – the delivery of doordrop media will change drastically. What can retailers do to continue to reach their customers at home, alert them to special offers and draw them to the store?

Are leaflets as a mass medium nearing the end of their life cycle?

This dilemma has many levels

Whether and when the JA/JA sticker will be introduced is still unknown. However, research company TeamVier has revealed that only 27 percent of the residents in Amsterdam plan to use a JA/JA sticker. This means that three-quarters of the target audience will have to be approached in a different way. Unaddressed doordrop media currently has a reach of 70 percent. We expect this reach to drop to 40 percent with the introduction of the JA/JA sticker. This trend will continue on in the future, which means retailers will soon only reach 20 percent of the target audience through doordrop media.

Profitable distribution

It’s not the case just yet, but the introduction of the JA/JA sticker can considerably speed up this development. This is why it’s a good idea to start looking for alternative ways to distribute leaflets, especially because leaflet distribution is often fuelled by sales, with an emphasis on costs per distribution (meaning tariffs). The cost structure of leaflet packages leaves no room for a further decrease of volumes. Either way, the costs will rise and will be passed on to retailers. Will the distribution of unsegmented and unaddressed leaflets then still be profitable?

One-to-many to One-to-one

It seems that 1-to-1 distribution is a good alternative to doordrop to continue to reach the target audience with leaflets. Consumers select which leaflets they would like to receive. These will be delivered to their address once a week in a sealed and addressed leaflet package. A similar opt-in system is already being used in Scandinavia, with success. Currently, is operating a pilot project in one zip code area in Amsterdam. It is expected that all of Amsterdam will be added at the end of January.

Less paper waste

The big advantage of 1-to-1 distribution for consumers is that they only receive relevant leaflets and there is less paper being wasted. Because people have control over their mailbox the selected leaflets will no longer be seen as spam. The downside for providers and retailers is that the consumers will not select less popular leaflets. Consequently, these leaflets cannot profit from the success of the popular leaflets. This makes the current leaflet packages less appealing. A decrease in volume will raise the costs of these packages, while their reach and value actually drops.

Distribution expectations

The distribution of addressed and unaddressed print advertising will become more expensive in the future. We expect doordrop media to transform in the upcoming years, from a mass medium to a personalised way of reaching consumers 1-1.


This is why we recommend starting with the use of innovative types of leaflets now. Latch on to new initiatives and dare to be the first in the revolution of the leaflet. Because, the question isn’t whether or not the leaflet is still the correct way to reach your target audience, but rather how long it can still be used as a mass medium.

We will keep you posted!

– Sumis