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The Drum

'I am a door-to-door salesman' - Mission Group non-exec director Brian Child

Departing non-executive director of The Mission Group discusses what has driven him through out his marketing career.

What has driven me, former CEO of McCann Manchester,97 in Drum top 100,pensioner(recipient of a final salary pension)non-exec of the Mission Group, A career spanning nearly 50 years in advertising selling door to door, what’s going on?

Well the answer is mates. Dave, CD of McCanns, talks to Syd, partner in G&H Printers, who is looking to elevate printing in the hierarchy of marketing, why not talk to Brian. The rest is history.

So this is an interesting challenge, print companies are really under the cosh. Many are discounting themselves into liquidation, there is over supply, falling demand and little desire, or cash, to invest in the next generation of presses.

Now I am guessing that many of you reading this article have little understanding of the print process and that you have never been in a print works. Well I have, albeit the last time was in 1972.Then I could often be found, at 2am, waiting to sign off a press pass, happy days!

So I was surprised to find little had changed, sure the technology was better but the sound of printing presses the smell of ink and paper bought memories flooding back. I was hooked.

So back to the fine mess my mates had got me into., After years of consultancy I have learnt to listen and eventually your client will tell you what needs doing and you get paid for trying to make him do it. Or if you want to pretend to be a planner ,you can engage in a search for a compelling insight, a point of difference a usp or whatever takes your fancy.

Happily G&H do have something different to offer, unusually for a printer they provide an end to end service for door to door. 17 periods a year they print, personalise and drop millions of leaflets on behalf of clients as diverse as NISA, Cost Cutter, CWS and United Utilities. Now here is the important bit ( if you have got this far) these bits of paper work. They deliver significant sales increases, trust me on this I am an Ad man!

So now I have prima facia evidence, door to door works, I have found a usp. Use G&H for print and distribution, bundle the two together and save time and hassle. We can do it all from design to distribution all under one roof. Charities can even avoid VAT.

And it gets better, as long as there are letter-boxes it will continue to work but now we have really sophisticated targeting tools, demographics, profiling etc. How about odd numbered houses only or Red front doors, we can do more than a postman. Then there are QR codes providing direct links to information via your mobile and of course ever improving personalisation.

So there it is, one minute retired then a couple of calls later an advocate for an unloved media. Is there a moral to this tale? I hope so, perhaps the best one is something I learnt in building McCann’s and that’s I have never known a CEO who will not listen to an idea that will grow sales! Also I am too young to retire!