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What Is Telemarketing: Everything You Need to Know

What Is Telemarketing: Everything You Need to Know

Telemarketing services, a widely used and perhaps quite controversial form of marketing, have been around for a while now and have played a major part in marketing as we know it today.  We’ve all received phone calls from businesses attempting to sell us something; for some, it might be an unwanted solicitation. For others, it’s a legitimate marketing effort, but one thing is clear: telemarketing, as we know it, has fallen out of favor recently for many reasons, such as the various do-not-call lists and registries that protect customers from unsolicited calls. With that being said, modern telemarketing that focuses on a good customer experience and ethical procedures is still a very prevalent option for marketers all around the world. For the sake of relevance, this article is focused mostly on outbound telemarketing as the most commonly referred to telemarketing type.  

A Brief Look into the History of Telemarketing

Telemarketing is a direct form of marketing and one of the earliest marketing methods. Its history dates back to the early 1900s, and wasn’t all that prevalent until the 1990s when businesses really started using the telephone as a way to market their products to potential customers. With the growing popularity of telephone use all throughout the world, and the rise of advertisements gave way to a new form of marketing called telemarketing (short for telephone marketing).  Telemarketing would become a sizeable industry in the following years and remains a staple in the marketing world, but many regulations and laws, especially in the United States, have severely restricted the operations of telemarketing following controversy regarding political use and spam-calling, hence why off-shore telemarketing has become the norm for companies that rely on telemarketing.  

Types of Telemarketing

Telemarketing is generally divided into four subcategories:
  • Outbound Telemarketing: This is the most common type of telemarketing. It involves reaching out to potential and existing customers about products or services that you sell.
  • Inbound Telemarketing: Opposite to outbound telemarketing, this type of telemarketing is a customer calling a company to inquire about their products or services, generated by advertisements, social media ads etc.
  • Sales Telemarketing: A very aggressive and persuasive telemarketing type that relies on closing a deal as soon as possible, usually on the same call.
  • Lead Generation: A lead generation team’s primary goal is collecting information about potential customers and passing down that information to the company’s sales team, they do not necessarily close deals.
 

Regulations Affecting Telemarketing

Telemarketing in the US is subject to numerous regulations that prevent unscrupulous and fraudulent telemarketers from customers; here are some of those regulations:  

Federal regulations:

  • Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA): Enacted in 1991, TCPA restricts telemarketers to specific hours, and also restricts autodialers, text marketing, and pre-recorded messages.
  • Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR): Enacted in 2024, effective May 16th, this rule prohibits telemarketers from maintaining extra records of telemarketing transactions and requires them to provide accurate and up-to-date information about their customers.
  • National Do Not Call RegistryEnacted in 2003, this was a major blow to telemarketing, which allows every citizen of the United States to sign up for a national do not call registry.
Do note, however, that these federal regulations apply only for telemarketing in the US and not outsourced telemarketing services located outside the US.  

The Efficacy of Telemarketing

Telemarketing’s effectiveness has been debated extensively over the years; however, it wouldn’t have survived this long if it had not produced effective results.  Effective telemarketing services in 2024 are professional and empathic in their approach. Gone are the days when telemarketers could just spam-call a potential customer in hopes of convincing them to buy something. Call center telemarketing has become the opposite of what it used to be known as: annoying, unprofessional, and unbearable call spammers.  This negative perception of telemarketing has made it absolutely mandatory for outbound marketers to adapt and overcome the negative stigma related to the job and not let telemarketing as a viable marketing strategy fade away into obscurity. With advanced customer relationship management software, multi-channel operations, and more, effective telemarketing is as relevant as ever.  

Telemarketing as a Career Option

While it’s a good option that pays well, telemarketing is absolutely not for everyone. It’s a career that requires a strong character and mindset, as you’ll be on calls with people who have little to no patience for unsolicited marketing calls. And if you overreach or annoy just enough people, you may irreversibly damage the company’s reputation through bad reviews. Telemarketers have a stereotypically negative public opinion that will be hard to change for a while. You also have to deal with a lot, and we mean a LOT of rejections. It’s up to the telemarketer to be able to bounce back and call the next person soon after. It’s also a target-oriented job, which means that employees are expected to meet those targets to fulfill work responsibilities, which might be stressful and anxiety-inducing for many people.  

What The Future Holds For Telemarketing

With the rise of machine learning and rapid advancements in technology, the future might point to a more AI-focused approach to telemarketing in the future, with virtual assistants generating leads without human intervention in the early stages. Alternatively, telemarketing will evolve to be a genuine connection-building tool between people, prioritizing services that add actual ethical value to human lives instead of just being annoying and intrusive sales pitches.  Telemarketing is most definitely here to stay, and if you need the perfect telemarketing partner for your business, contact us at 247 Call to get more details on how we can help your business thrive.  

Ending Thoughts

While telemarketing has had its ups and downs over the decades, with legal issues and ethically questionable work methods, it is still a big player in the marketing game. It offers direct communication and is a much cheaper way to reach out to customers. The value of telemarketing as a whole is still beneficial and on the rise because, according to many businesses worldwide, it will remain in the marketing mix for many more years to come.