Friday, September 28, 2007
Talking about Telemarketing Today
I tend to be an optimist--a believer in the goodness of humanity. I like to think that my world of direct response marketing is filled with only completely honest, innovative people who enjoy the business of targeting the right offer to the right person, and, in doing so ultimately benefit with good sales and a nice profit margin.
Of course, the world at large, the general public, typically thinks the exact opposite. We're junk mailers, awful people who fill our in-boxes with SPAM and dishonest pests who call us just when we're picking up our forks to eat dinner. Well, unfortunately, sometimes the general public is right...
See this article about what's being called the "largest telemarketing scam in a quarter century."
It's about a company called Strategia Marketing, who the FTC accuses of cheating "thousands of Americans out of tens, and perhaps hundreds, of millions of dollars."
"The FTC maintains Strategia Marketing operated for several years under at least 15 different business names. Investigators say telemarketers called consumers to offer ‘free’ trial memberships in discount buyer and travel clubs and later charged consumers for a series of programs without their knowledge."
Hmmm. I guess this is a tad worse than simply annoying people when they're trying to enjoy a nice dinner.
And, then there's been lots of talk lately about how the Do Not Call is just about to hit the 5-year mark. Remember, after 5 years from your original registration, you'll have to re-register your phone number to ensure that you won't receive telemarketing calls. This is making lots of people hopping mad.
And, legislators tend to agree. There are a couple of bills recently introduced that will make DNC registration permanent. See this article for good detail.
Well, I think it goes back to this--what is good for the consumer? And, as much as I hate the fact that when my legitimate clients want to implement a telemarketing campaign, there are so few non-DNC phone numbers available, I have to agree with the proposed legislation. If someone added their phone number to the DNC and they haven't moved, or changed their phone number, why make them re-register? There's nothing that says that now, all of a sudden, they want to be telemarketing calls. Of course they don't.
Finally, when we read about the illegal scams like those reported today, telemarketing continues to get a bad rep. Which, of course, will result in more people adding their phone number to the Do Not Call Registry.
What say you--is telemarketing dead? Or, is it a viable direct marketing channel?