The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, June 30, 2003

THE NATURE OF TELEMARKETING
John Gaffney wants to know why telemarketers are upset over the National Do Not Call Registry. He argues that the Registry's purpose--to allow consumers to omit their phone numbers from indiscrimate cold-calling--makes telemarketers' jobs leaner and meaner, resulting in more qualified leads.

Here's why the average telemarketing executive is not too happy: The entire telemarketing business is based upon the denial of qualified leads. It's purely a volume business, as much as a hotdog stand or a taxicab service. People who oversee direct marketing don't want small, targeted lists of potential customers--at least, not only targeted lists. If they're not working with mass-market lists, they feel they're not expanding their net as widely as they can. More importantly, their bosses think that, and that's who they have to answer to when projections start coming up short.

I think it's foolish to speak of qualified leads when it come to telemarketing. That business subsists on a shotgun-marketing approach, pure and simple. The people they're going to be left with that don't sign up with the Registry are going to be those who aren't aware that they can opt out--ill-informed and stupid people, basically. Those high-yield individuals who direct marketers most crave were among the first people to opt out, and everyone knows that.

Oh by the way: My attempted registration on the Registry last week never did go through. Looks like Yahoo did indeed incinerate my confirmation notices. So I re-registered this morning, using a non-Yahoo address. Bingo! Got the confirmation emails, replied to them, and now my phone numbers are free from annoying sales calls (to a certain degree) until 2008. Golden.