Does Telemarketing Still Work?
For some in the telemarketing industry, the Federal Trade Commission's creation of the National Do-Not-Call Registry was a call to arms. For telemarketing consultant Jon Hamilton, president and principal of JHA Telemanagement, it was a wake-up call.
"The number of unduplicated households on the do-not-call list today is 42 million to 44 million, according to sources I know who've analyzed the file," says Hamilton. "We're heading to 60 percent to 70 percent of all U.S. households being on the list. Without permission marketing, consumer telemarketing will cease to be an effective marketing tool."
At the time this interview with Hamilton was conducted in late September, two lower courts had ruled against the implementation of the Do-Not-Call Registry. The latter of the rulings, from Federal District Court Judge Edward W. Nottingham, found the registry unconstitutional on the grounds that it applied a different set of standards for free speech to politicians and fundraisers than for commercial entities. Many suspect this case to continue to the Supreme Court, putting the do-not-call list on hold until it is resolved.
While marketers might perceive this delay as borrowed time in which to keep on calling, Hamilton cautions marketers not to miss the underlying message.
"The future is clearly up in the air right now, but if the industry thinks it won some type of long-term victory, we should take a better look. Fifty million [registered phone numbers] have to be a strong message that it is time to clean up our act," says Hamilton.
In the following interview, we asked Hamilton to assess the current state of telemarketing and to offer some suggestions for how marketers can conduct telemarketing programs that respect the consumer and still produce results.
Inside Direct Mail: How has the creation of the National Do-Not-Call Registry affected companies' ability to use the telephone as a marketing/ sales channel?