Is Social Media Better than Telemarketing?

There are many naysayers on social media who perpetually state that cold calling is dead and who’d want to receive nasty, smelly, outmoded cold calls. They glorify social media, content development and inbound marketing as the new anchors, the new standard bearers of the future of marketing as if their solution is the only way forward.

Before I challenge the assumptions to some extent, I want to be clear that I am a fan of all the above. Our core business at GSA is lead generation and, within that, for our clients, we undertake telemarketing, emerald marketing and proactive LinkedIn marketing. However, we also gain a great deal of business from inbound leads generated from Google, from LinkedIn and from other sources. These come to us since we have over 400 blogs, podcasts, videos and infographics on our website and on the various social channels. We post new content and re purpose past content on a very regular basis. Therefore, we are visible and credible, and this supports our place at the table when companies are looking for suppliers of our services.

So, what’s the challenge?

It’s so easy to knock telemarketing or cold calling ‘ as is the favourite expression used as a catchall to denote the use of the phone to do business. It lumps together cold callers who chase ambulances after an accident, ask if you’ve had PPI and whether you have been unwisely advised about your pension. This is just part of the problem. Not al l telephone marketing is the same and not all callers are the same.

GDPR, GDPR, GDPR…

GDPR is touted as just one of the reasons why telephone marketing is unacceptable. Yet, in the legislation and guidance issued by the Office of the Information Commissioner pertaining to both GDPR and PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations), telephone marketing is permissible. Under GDPR, you can undertake outbound calling using legitimate interest as a basis for processing personal data. Therefore, there is no issue in terms of legislation. Of course, for b2b calls, you need to screen your data against the opt-out register every 28 days and hold a suppression file for those that ask you to no longer contact them. However, there’s nothing to stop you using telemarketing as a channel.

The annoyance factor

How many cold calls do you receive in your day job? How frequently do you receive calls? Is it 4x per day which is almost how some protagonists position it? The fact is that most well-structured outbound calls are well-received. Not all of them have positive outcomes since not every prospect is looking. Yet some of the world’s largest companies still use telemarketing to promote their services. And, they use telemarketing alongside other methods and channels.

Is outbound marketing all bad?

You will always find some individuals that have a negative view of outbound calling as a means of lead generation. Are these the same people that complain about email marketing overload? We all receive too many emails. That perhaps strengthens the argument of the naysayers. Is outbound marketing all bad? The thing is that you could also argue that about sponsored advertisements on Facebook. They’re in your face all the time. And, what about YouTube video ads? And, LinkedIn ads? And, even social media posts? Clutter is all around us.

Standing out is hard to achieve…

We’re swamped with messages from all channels and all angles. Distraction is everywhere and stand out is very hard to achieve especially for those occasional producers of content. Content takes time to produce. And, good content not only takes time, it is not cheap. Video has become the go-to method of content development. And, whilst you can produce inexpensive videos on your iPhone, compelling videos with good sound and content reign supreme. People have short attention spans and will switch off if the content doesn’t grab them quickly. What’s more, how do you ensure that your content hits the right person? In amongst all the clutter and the day job, it isn’t a simple task to reach the right target.

Telemarketing is all about targeting…

At the outset, I stated that I am a fan of developing and distributing great content. This blog is an example of that. However, with so much noise online competing for attention, it’s difficult to ensure that your specific targets will see your content and engage in conversation with you. Of course, you can try to connect with them on LinkedIn. You can pay for sponsored ads. You can select many other methods of marketing. Yet, if you’re among a sea of other content, and you don’t produce enough content of a sufficient standard, you may be invisible. 

…And targeting is all about laser targeting

What is clear about telemarketing is that you can select and target precisely who you want. You don’t have to wait to see if your target will hopefully see the content you post or find you on one of the social platforms. It’s not just about the size of your network. You can go to them directly when you want. 

With telemarketing, you can build a list of contacts and make a phone call to each as long as you’ve checked for opt-outs. Then you’re free to engage in conversation. That doesn’t mean you should pitch at every opportunity. Telemarketing is as much about engaging in conversation as social media. It is about relevance. It is about listening more than talking. Bad telemarketing is like bad content and bad advertising and any bad marketing. You can do it right and you can do it wrong.

To summarise: social is not the only game in town!

The problem with social media exponents is that, in many cases, they exclude any other option. Telemarketing is not the only choice. Every business must select a combination of marketing choices that suit their business and their target customers. There’s no right or wrong. But telemarketing isn’t all bad and social media isn’t all good!

Want to chat to a telemarketing agency who knows what they’re talking about? Get in touch with GSA, here.

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