Are Telemarketers Laggards in the Era of Social Media Marketing?
Picture this … it’s dinner time, after a tough day at work, you and your family finally get together for a nice meal and some quality family time. There is laughter, stories, and the smell of a freshly cooked meal…ideal. The telephone rings. You are caught off guard and an enthusiastic marketer from the other side asks for only five minutes of your time, to answer some questions. How do you react:
1) You enthusiastically answer the questions
2) You grudgingly agree to 5 minutes of your precious time, answering questions while your hands begin to sweat and you feel your heart start to race
3) You politely apologize that you don’t have 5 minutes and hang up the phone
4) You pick up and angrily tell him that you are already on the Do Not Call Registry and that he shouldn’t call you at all, while irately hanging up the phone
5) You pick up, listen briefly, and hang up the phone without saying anything
6) #6 is not the case here – since you already picked up the phone – but you could just simply not pick up
Recently, I was personally targeted by a similar telemarketing campaign. I believe that I’m the worst kind of target: curious, answering questions with questions, and myself a marketer. I found it a particularly interesting social phenomenon that I was being engaged during dinner time and was curious enough not to hang up. Even though I actively listened for a few minutes, I cannot remember the exact objective of the marketer (obviously a good indication of the effectiveness of the call), but I do recall that the marketer lacked the appropriate educational level and communication skills to even remotely interest me for his product, service, or other objective. In fact, I recall deeply considering the inadequacies of the telemarketing strategy of this company, a poorly written script that was given to a bad actor, and of course very poor timing – dinner time. Consider that there are many other alternatives techniques and you will ask yourself why a company would choose to continue with a somewhat outdated marketing method. For example, why would this same company not invest in pay-per-click advertising or some form of Social Media marketing that would allow a target customer to alone determine when, at a more appropriate time, he or she would go to the internet, respond to an advertisement, and convert into a lead without the active influence of a marketer. Below is my quick analysis of the pros and cons of both approaches and why one might choose one over the other.
|Criteria||Telemarketing||Social Media Marketing||My Winner|
|Customer Access||More than 70% of Americans are on a ‘National Do-Not-Call’ registry||More than 75% of Americans use the internet and half of those use Social Media||Social Media Marketing|
|Customer Interest||Need to take a broad approach to identify customers interested in a particular product / service||Easy to identify members of groups that are interested in a particular product / service||Social Media Marketing|
|Cost||$25 to $50 per hour||$50 to $250 per hour||Telemarketing|
|Customer Reach||While approximately 25 calls could be made per hour, only about 5-10 targets might be actually reached||It is reasonable to assume that more than hundreds or thousands of potential targets could be reached per hour||Social Media Marketing|
|Efficiency||>$5 per customer reached||<$1 per customer reached||Social Media Marketing|
|Effectiveness||Once a target is reached, a ‘good’ telemarketer should be fairly effective in transmitting a message and value proposition||Targets are reached generically, thereby reducing the overall effectiveness of the effort||Telemarketing|
|Future Trend||Decreasing||Increasing||Social Media Marketing|
Isn’t ‘tradeoff’ the first word that comes to your mind, right after ‘wow’? Isn’t this the most typical dilemma that the business world is facing today: efficiency vs. effectiveness? We are all aware that various social media services are experiencing dramatic growth, not only for the purpose of maintaining our friendships and professional relationships, but also for building new relationships, whether mutual partnerships, employment opportunities, or business development opportunities. One can venture to say that it is even becoming the leading venue for marketing and sales generation among certain niche markets or customer segments. Nevertheless, it seems that quite a few for-profit companies and not-for-profit initiatives continue to avoid these platforms in favor of more archaic methodologies, such as telemarketing. In a time when each person wants to be in greater control of what they will do and when, and when a random mistimed telephone call is obviously annoying, it is time to let go of some old fashioned techniques and invest in a social media expert rather than an offshore telemarketer.