With the majority of direct sales now coming in over the Internet, some direct response marketers have pulled the plug on inbound telemarketing. The motivation to do so has been driven primarily by online marketing’s ability to capture a lead or sale at a significantly lower cost, not to mention the hassle and logistical challenges that telemarketing presents. But marketers who are not speaking with their clients may be missing out on a valuable opportunity to engage in a dialogue with their consumers that can be of tremendous value. Here are just some of the ways that telemarketing can help create value for marketers...
Telemarketing Uncovers Hidden Treasure
Calls can be recorded and easily reviewed to determine whether or not there are objections or barriers to purchase that the advertising is not be addressing. Since direct marketing is all about optimization, this direct dialogue can help with everything from determining the ideal offer configuration to the order that upsells should be presented and other vital insights. While online marketing can provide great quantitative insight, it may not always be able to provide the kind of qualitative nuggets that human interface can provide. This learning can be leveraged across all aspects of a campaign to markedly improve results. Telemarketing Gives Advertisers a Valuable
Barometer for Evaluating Media
Media attribution is an ongoing challenge in a complex, omnichannel world, but leads and sales that come in over the telephone can still be attributed to specific media providing airings have their own dedicated toll-free number. While such sales may make up a minority of the total sales, they can provide directional insight that, coupled with other attribution methodologies, help media planners manage and optimize their campaigns with greater certainty.
Telephony Often Results in Higher Close Rates
The ability to navigate a conversation and respond to questions and concerns from prospects in a dynamic way often leads to higher close rates than one can attain in a digital environment. For example, in a recent campaign for a fitness product, the website converted about 3 percent of the unique visitors, while telemarketing managed to close 60 percent of the inbound traffic. Although the number of inbound calls was a fraction of the website traffic, when combined with the other benefits of telephony, the inbound campaign proved that it was well worth the effort.
High-Touch Categories Benefit from Telephony
Simply put, certain categories such as financial services where there is tremendous sensitivity—after all, we’re talking about someone’s money—benefit from the human touch. Similarly, categories like weight loss and beauty, where there may be a high degree of skepticism, will also benefit from conversation where the telemarketer can assuage concerns and doubt. These types of considerations are powerful reminders that not everything can be automated.
Some Consumers Prefer Calling
While marketers are in love with younger demographics such as digital natives, baby boomers represent the highest concentration of wealth in the history of mankind. Many of these older consumers, who grew up with toll-free numbers as part of their everyday landscape, may prefer to pick up the phone and talk to someone. Nowadays, it is incumbent upon marketers to meet their consumer at a time and place of their choosing, and telemarketing is one more avenue that allows the customer to choose.
Everyone Has a Shopping Cart in Their Hand
According to a Pew Research Center survey, nearly seven out of 10 U.S. consumers own a smartphone. And while the percentage of sales coming in over the Web via mobile is rising, giving prospects the ability to call in fortifies marketers with one more powerful channel of communication and sales.
The notion of telemarketing has a certain “old school” ring that some marketers may find unappealing. However, as laid out in the argument above, direct marketers would be wise not to ignore it. It may not be sexy, but telemarketing’s ability to deliver incremental sales to the bottom line certainly is. The decision to employ telephony is an individual call, but arguably one worth making.
Photo by iStock.com
Peter Koeppel is Founder and President of Koeppel Direct, an influential direct response media firm focused on direct response television (DRTV), online, print and radio media buying, marketing and campaign management. He can be reached at 972-732-6110 or online at [email protected] or twitter.com/DRTVBUYER.