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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Interesting news from Brand Republic that Blueview has acquired digital agency Glass and B2B telemarketing firm Logicall.

It's looks like a logical (no pun intended) move for Blueview since they're building an agency offering "multi-channel customer management" solutions.

I'm particularly interested in the news because, if you read any of the B2B marketing press for the past 12 months, you'd be forgiven for thinking that telemarketing was dead and everything was about "digital".

Telemarketing still remains and effective part of the B2B marketing mix and, as Blueview seems to believe, if it's integrated with other marketing channels it becomes even more effective.

I believe this will be a trend that continues.

Whether that means further integration with the industry or an expansion of multi-channel services from traditional telemarketing agencies, we'll have to see. Or maybe even both.

I know from our side we are running more email marketing (digital) campaigns backed up with telemarketing. Throw in micro-sites built specific to campaigns and you can see how the two disciplines are becoming more integrated.

As I said, it's certainly a trend that will continue.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 12:31 pm |  0 comments  | Links to this post  

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Monday, June 08, 2009

I've recently finished reading the excellent Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin.

In his book Seth maps out 14 trends that are shaping the business world and suggests that the winners will be the companies which align their business model with what he calls "New Marketing".

Unsurprisingly, since this book is from the guru of permission marketing, Seth says in the executive summary that Old Marketing tactics such as telemarketing and cold calling "are all in trouble"

I didn't exactly spit out my coffee at that point but it did make me sit up :-)

The thing is that Seth's talking about telemarketing as a "mass marketing" media, since he compares it with Network TV and newspapers.

And in that sense, he's absolutely right.

Mass-market telemarketing, which is typically B2C, is dead. As I've posted about previously (see Ethical Telemarketing Companies? Now I know we're in trouble!) unsolicited cold calling to consumers just doesn't work any more.

But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Telemarketing can still be extremely effective as a marketing tactic and, in certain situations, can deliver far better results than other, often over-hyped, digital marketing tactics.

As long as it's highly targeted and relevant then outbound telemarketing can not only be effective but it can also be well received (I posted about this a year ago Google ads show us the future of cold-calling).

My view is that telemarketing is already shifting to higher value, more complex sales propositions where it can still deliver a strong ROI.

Will telemarketing ever become extinct as a marketing tactic?

I guess that if it no longer delivers a return-on-investment then the answer's yes. Or if legislation comes out to ban it's use in business-to-business.

At the moment, though, if you need to reach senior decision makers and key influencers in business, high-targeted telemarketing can still deliver.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 12:36 pm |  1 comments  | Links to this post  

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Even though I've been in the telesales business for over 20 years (I ran a telesales team back in 1989 for an IT services company), I'm always interested in reading books on the subject. You never know, you just might pick up a real gem of an idea.

Anyway, I was looking Art Sobczak's Telesales Blog and saw a recommended book that's not in my library called Successful Sales Managers Guide to Telephone Sales.

Cool, I thought, let's have a look at this one. But, then, something stopped me dead in my tracks - it was published in 1999!

Now, in some ways, 1999 isn't that long ago. But in the world of telesales it's an eternity.

In a way, the title of the book gives it away - "Telephone Sales".

I was chatting the other day to one of our associates who worked in one of the first telemarketing companies back in the 80's. We were talking about how the game has changed so much in that time.

For a start, there was no voicemail. Not to mention the fact that people were actually happy to chat with you :-) No email. No web.

Today, at some levels within an organisation, you can call all day and not reach anyone. And that's exactly why the tactics that worked in the 80's, and even back in 1999, just don't cut it anymore.

Back in 1999 I was a regional sales manager for a company selling IT solutions for manufacturing (the fact we were selling to manufacturing dates the story for a start!) In those days, you would ask a prospect, "do you have an email address?".

The game has changed.

The description "Telephone Sales" just isn't accurate any more.

Telephone, voicemail and email are all daily tools. Today, we set up as many appointments by email as we do by phone. Social networking sites like LinkedIn and web based research tools have become critical in positioning your approach. Web demos have become the norm for software telesales.

But in a few years time we may be saying... that's so 2009!

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