I’m old enough (just, ahem!) to remember the good old 80’s and 90’s sales rooms of a great many companies being the beating heart of the organisation. Smoky, noisy and fuelled with an unadulterated hunger for money that would be seen as quite vulgar by today’s PC standards.
Telesales teams were happy clappy, high fiving zealots made to perform ever increasingly bizarre rituals to herald the successful acquisition of an new contract. I myself was tasked with ringing a bell and whoop whooping whilst running round my desk three times – oh, the comradery that was 1979.
As with all things however, it lost it’s shine. With the dawn of a new century came a new era, a new way of doing business. The world wide web was amongst us and the dawn of electronic mail and something called a ‘website’. Companies grappled with the concept of mass communication where anything seemed possible at the touch of a button. The implications for marketing departments were truly game changing.
This wasn’t, however, an overnight sensation. It started in the late 90’s as computer software became evermore sophisticated and email was giving traditional mail a run for its money.
It wasn’t until the early naughties that the opportunities for improved marketing via online activities truly started to take hold and by 2002 the world had gone crazy for all things web.
Many of the older and more traditional forms of marketing were considered yesterday’s news and anyone engaging in them seen as a dinosaur. It was partly for this reason that anything even remotely 20th century was unceremoniously shown the door at this time. This included hard copy mail (except anything that needed signing, a ticklish problem now solved by a plethora of programmes) but mail-shots for marketing purposes shrank by 80% (depending on who’s stats you’re relying on but there is a trend) in 2010 compared to the year 2000.
What happened next took a great many people quite by surprise. Email fell out of favour, period. By 2013 we were getting very tired of being bombarded by email; and the reason? Because it was such a cheap way of communicating no-one was putting any effort into it. Marketing emails, in the main, were poorly constructed, ill thought through and vague. Many didn’t make it clear what it wanted the recipient to do and messages were lost and blurred.
It was about now that European companies studied for a piece of research carried out in 2012 showed a 70% return to the humble telephone as a means of promoting the brand, setting appointments and researching the markets.
At the same time as all this companies were still breaking their necks (and budgets) to be on page one of Google, the only online alter worth worshipping it would seem. But, even that has been called into question of late with many businesses fed up of dancing to Google’s all powerful tune (there goes my ratings).
In other words, it was, and still is, shifting sands, although the fog does seem to be clearing for many. The lion’s share of most companies attention now goes to multi-channel marketing that synchronises all activity for maximum impact.
But how does that look?
I can offer some really simple, first hand anecdotal evidence here. We market Newton Fox via e-marketing and, as you would expect, telemarketing. we tested the difference between a stand alone email campaign and one where we chased up the click through’s and opens by phone to ‘invite questions.’
Quite simply, of the 3,000 emails we sent out and did nothing more we had a total of 11 enquiries, 4 face to face meetings and 2 new clients. The three thousand that we followed up (we contacted approximately 450 by telephone) resulted in meaningful dialogue with over 50 companies and 5 new clients.
Now, this is what you need to get your head around. On face value the above stats tell you that the net result of our marketing efforts here were a little over twice as good when we rang the prospect up. The reality, however, is much more dramatic. In scenario 2 we are now engaged with over 50 companies. We know a little about them and they’ve agreed that they may well have need for our services at some point. They happily take our newsletter and we keep in touch on a regular basis.
Some will refer us to their client base and so the improvements to the strategy become exponential as time goes on.
Email is now on the rise again and Linkedin recently conducted a survey of a great many mover-shakers in the digital marketing arena; all of whom predict great things for the humble email these days.
I would agree, and am happy to see telemarketing also take its rightful place as a potent and more importantly well respected and valued channel; the only one providing immediate feedback incidentally, not that I’m selling, perish the thought.