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Landon McCarter, top, and Ryan Jennings are growing their Door Deals business model through license agreements. The door-hanger advertising program is in 15 markets.
Landon McCarter, top, and Ryan Jennings are growing their Door Deals business model through license agreements. The door-hanger advertising program is in 15 markets.

Business Spotlight: Knocking Down Doors

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Ryan Jennings and Landon McCarter have hung their advertising careers on a two-year-old business venture dubbed Door Deals LLC.

Launched in May 2009, the concept is built around 27-by-7-inch advertising sheets hung on the doors of area neighborhood homes. The hangers are currently placed on about 35,000 homes – 30,000 in Springfield and 5,000 in Republic – serving between 100 to 200 clients in a given month, according to the founders, both of whom are Missouri State University marketing graduates.

The model took a step forward last year, when Jennings and McCarter created licensing agreements to take the concept into multiple cities. Through licensing, which Jennings calls a “business in a box,” Door Deals has penetrated 15 markets, including Kansas City, Tulsa, Okla., and Little Rock, Ark.

“The biggest thing that we’ve done, bar none, and the most profitable growth that we’ve seen was when we implemented the dealership model license agreement,” says McCarter, who previously worked for Money Saver coupon magazine..

Set up like a franchise, individual licensees pay $7,000 to run their own separate markets with help from McCarter and Jennings.

“We train (licensees), give them the turnkey business model that we’ve set up, and then they take that business to other markets,” Jennings says, who also owns Momentum Marketing and previously worked for OnMedia Advertising.

Each door hanger advertises special deals and coupons of up to 22 local businesses, says Jennings.

Advertisers ranging from food vendors such as Buffalo Wild Wings to retailers such as The Children’s Orchard pay on average 4.5 cents for each house targeted, McCarter says.

“It’s kind of an inexpensive, cost-effective way for businesses to lock out their competition,” Jennings adds.

Children’s Orchard owner Dan Morris has been advertising with Door Deals since about three months into the launch, and he says the return has surprised him.

“I didn’t think it was going to be a good, efficient marketing tool for me,” Morris says, noting that he turned down Jennings multiple times before agreeing. “By golly, I tried it and they have been so effective. I get hundreds of those coupons back a month.”

Additionally, McCarter and Jennings say their model gives back to the community by having fundraising groups distribute the door hangers.

“That is where our business kind of turns the corner to philanthropic,” McCarter says. “The majority of our hangers are fundraisers. Kickapoo High School’s cross country team will go and hang 6,000 (door hangers) in the afternoon, and we’ll cut them a check.”

Jennings says the business has helped athletic teams, high school Project Graduation groups and a group raising money for breast cancer.

The fundraising strategy has returned a record $30,000 in a single month, and Jennings says the maximum monthly return for nonprofits is $42,000.

In June, Door Deals added magazine components called Market Maxx Magazine and Market Maxx Homes. The company mailed 20,000 copies and distributed another 5,000 in magazine racks.

“That was a successful launch,” McCarter says. “They are launching a magazine in Little Rock, also.”

Other ideas brewing include a magazine focused on health and wellness or entertainment.

While starting a company in the face of an economic downturn has its challenges, Jennings says the resulting coupon craze has overshadowed those hurdles. The company reports 32 percent revenue growth January–May, though officials declined to disclose figures.

“Challenges include getting businesses to try something new and selling advertisement overall in a down economy, but it helped that we deal with coupons in a time where coupons are becoming more mainstream,” Jennings says.
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