I always find it odd when people declare a long-established marketing channel as dead. This seems to happen when a bright, shiny new channel comes along.
In the noughties, we saw the advent of social media with the birth of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
In the nineties, we had the development of the internet and the rise of web sites and e-mail marketing.
In the eighties, we saw telemarketing come into its own. It had started in the 70s but only really took off in the 80’s.
Prior to this direct mail and radio advertising were the primary channels and before that hand delivered advertising sheets (i.e. large flyers promoting multiple products) and door-to-doo the main marketing route (along with door-to-door salesmen).
The thing is that all of these channels are still with us. None of them have been replaced. None of them are dead.
I have met a few social media gurus who think that it is all people respond to these days. This is utter rubbish. A recent survey showed that of all the marketing channels Facebook and Twitter were the least trusted. People just don’t believe what they read posted on them. Incredibly, the survey showed that people trust e-mail about twice as much and this is a channel which has been greatly abused over the years with various scams involving inheritances that a “down on his luck” prince will share with you if you just give him your bank details.
In reality, there is no such thing as an ideal channel. This is simply because different people respond to different channels.
Take telemarketing for example. It is still a very effective way of getting in front of people and making direct sales. Why? Well people buy people for one. More importantly, you can deal with the person and their objections, live, as an individual. You can’t do this through an e-mail, web site or letter.
Telemarketing like all marketing channels requires skill, persistence and patience. It is also one of those activities that most business owners and professionals hate. The average business owner or even sales person would rather go through hell then do their own cold calling.
This is why rallying cries like “Telemarketing is Dead!” is so attractive to them. It gets them off the hook of having to make cold calls. These people would much rather tweet, post updates on LinkedIn or send out an e-mail or letter than pick up the phone and make a call.
Unfortunately, the problem comes with the results. An average response rate for a cold letter is 2% for a cold e-mail (where you have bought the address) it is about 0.005%. Note, if someone has opted in to get your e-mails the response rate is about 2%. A good way of increasing your opt-ins is through telemarketing!
To be fair, social media is a PR channel rather than a marketing one. It helps to increase your profile and engage with your target market but rarely does it create direct business
The response rate for telemarketing to a cold, but targeted list, is 5%- much higher than other channels.
To be honest, telemarketing isn’t right for every business as different people respond to different channels but then this is true of any channel.
Telemarketing is still very much alive in both the B2C and B2B worlds. It is so effective that, if you don’t want to do it, then it is definitely worth outsourcing it to a telemarketing company.