I've recently finished reading the excellent Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin.Posted by: David Regler @
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.