Telemarketing is not Marketing

Lets clear the air, telemarketing isn’t marketing, in fact it has nothing to do with marketing and is actually quite damaging to a company’s real marketing efforts.


What is telemarketing?  It is a cold call to sell something over the phone.  Anyone in the US has experience with telemarketers and their efforts to sell us what they are trying to sell, there isn’t any marketing going on what so ever.  They often come in two varieties, the monotone seller who reads their script and waits for your answer.  Or the pressure sales person that tries to get you to buy no matter how many times you say no.  Where is the marketing?  There isn’t any.


So where did the word telemarketing come from?  It seems to have first been used back in the 70’s by the phone company Bell.  The word was created to soften the blow.  It was sales and still is and back then, that sometimes left a bad taste in the mouth of some customers who didn’t like being bothered with a sales call.  But back then, the word marketing didn’t have such a stigma and sounded a little cooler and sexy.  Keep in mind, this was when marketing was just getting into its own and getting a glamour image in some sectors.  So telemarketing sounded nice and at first at least, met less resistance when a customer heard “I’m not a sales person, I’m a telemarketer.”  Of course today, we either hang up or don’t even pick up the phone when we recognize a telemarketer is calling us.


A lot of companies now outsource their telemarketing or staff them with people who have little more than a script and a quota.  This does not help their brand or public image what so ever.  Telemarketing is a misleading word and often a misleading practice.  I can’t even remember the number of times someone calls me and tells me they are not calling to sell me anything but yes, actually they are!  Or they call and run through their script and hang up.  Or I have to hang up because they can’t seem to understand what “no thank you, I’m not interested” means.  This hurts your real marketing efforts in a deep financial way.


I was running some numbers of my own on a small test group (keep in mind I’m doing this in my spare time, I don’t have a research department for my pet projects, sorry), and with these test companies I saw that the negative impact of telemarketing added an additional 7-9% to the overall marketing costs just to over come the bad impact of telemarketing.  So your budget is impacted by almost 10% due to bad telemarketing, you are wasting that 10% and giving your competitors an advantage.  Not to mention wasting even more in terms of good will and customer patience’s, which you can’t put a price tag on.


In my opinion you are better off without telemarketing.  There are much more cost effective ways to reach your target audience without the need for telemarketing.  The direct cost and indirect costs seem far to high for the actual return.  A well thought out acquisition marketing strategy doesn’t need telemarketing, nor does it need any other method that is similar.  It can be done that actually has customers open to engaging you at every touch point.  And it can be done with excellent ROI, using real marketing efforts.

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Filed under Business, Marketing

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