Doorhanging Basics

In an industry that is driven by the printed advertisement, doorhanging reigns supreme.  Even the novice pizza operator knows to put out a bunch of flyers around the neighborhood to get the business going.

The term doorhanging is used somewhat loosely among pizza operators to generally signify that something is placed on or near a resident's door.  This can range from a flier to a magnet to a bag of inserts or even a real doorhanger, a piece must have a hole or the equivalent punched out enabling the piece to be hung on a doorknob.  The pieces come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the "standard" doorhanger is the size of a regular sheet of paper cut in half lengthwise.  This puts the dimensions at 4 1/4" x 11".  The doorknob hole is usually 1" in diameter and centered near the top of the piece.

Doorhangers come in a variety of paper stocks and printing variations.  Usually they are at least the thickness of an index card, but sometimes are printed on a high quality thick cover stock.  On the low end, the printing can be one color on one side or go to four color process on both sides.  And not surprisingly, every alternative in between can occur.

Prices also can be all over the spectrum.  Price is mostly driven by quantity, however, the same piece can cost twice or even three times as much depending on the vendor.  Geographic location is also significant.  Printing in quantities over 50,000 in California seems to be dirt cheap, whereas a local quick print in the mid-west, for instant, usually has significantly higher prices.  Mail order is also a very popular option, and a small yet constistent group of printers advertise regularly in the trade magazines.  The cost for a standard doorhanger can range anywhere from 1.8 cens to 6 cents.

Doorhanging in the collective sense is a tried and true promotional vehicle for pizza.  It works best for the delivery type of restaurant as opposed to a strictly sit-down facility.  The nature of advertising being legalized gambling, no one knows for sure why this is the case.  It would appear to be the impulsive nature of buying a delivered pizza that makes doorhanging so successful for delivery pizza parlors.  The doorhanger makes a big impression that feeds into a person's desire to order a pizza in the relatively near future, usually within the next 10 minutes or so.

The highly competitive nature of the business is another reason why doorhanging continus to be an attractive advertising medium.  The average consumer needs to have something constantly thrust under his or her nose to create a desire to call in the next order, and reminding them of the number to call.  This hard-driving advertising style can get to be a bit of a vicious cucle if everyone feels they have to replace a recent distribution by the competition.

The primary strength of doorhanging is that it make a significant impression on the potential customer at a crucial moment.  The true presentation value is that the front of the piece can be seen in its entirely from a distance.  It is being evaluated even before it is within arm's reach.  Another huge factor is that the piece will be in the prospective customer's hand . . . it has to be picked off the doorknob.  This pretty well guarantees that the piece will be looked at, which is a lot more than can be said for most other advertising.  Junk mail often is thrown away without being opened.  TV is not watched by all, the same with radio, and similar situations with every other medium.

The last and possibly best advantage to pizza operators is that the doorhanger is usually received when a person arrives home after a hard day of work.  Most likely the main thing on the person's mind then is dinner.  The sense are extremely receptive to culinary pleasures, and the convenience of being only a phone call away begins to make the ordering impulse border on the irresistible.

Doorhanging really is a big subject; distribution is another key element of its success, and the cost benefit analysis is the most important element.  We will probably devote future pizza marketing strategies to a fuller discussion of the subject, so stay tuned to your best source of pizza marketing information, PMQ.