Telemarketing V Internet Marketing

Telemarketing v Internet Marketing
Is it best to spend your marketing budget on Telemarketing or Internet Marketing?  This is a question faced by many entrepreneurs and marketing managers.  I will explore the differences between the two routes to market and help you to make that decision.

Don’t Believe the Hype

Ten years ago, a lot of business people became very excited about the Internet.  The Internet was hailed as the new medium for promoting a business and so-called technical gurus were lining up, telling everyone it was the end of other forms of marketing such as Telemarketing and Direct Mail.  Shareholders became so excited, that we ended up with the dot.com (now often referred to as the dot.CON!) boom.  The problem was that people started believing “techie talk” instead of applying “marketing knowledge”.   From a techie’s perspective the Internet provided all the answers, but a true marketer understands terms like “market saturation”and the real gurus of marketing could see that this was just another route to market.

Telemarketing is dead.  Long live Telemarketing.

So why didn’t the Internet replace Telemarketing and all other forms of marketing?  The simple answer is that the Internet cannot directly replace certain human interactions and if everyone has a website then a website is no longer something special.  To give an analogy, the Audi TT was one of the most exciting cars of the same decade as the Internet boom.  But would buying a 10 year old Audi TT produce the same thrill in your neighbourhood, as buying one of the original models hot off the production line?  Of course it wouldn’t, because there is now a plethora of Audi TT’s and Audi TT lookalikes out there.  Professional Telemarketing was bringing in new business 10 years ago and is bringing in new business today.  Yet a good website 10 years ago was a big fish in a small pond.  Today a good website is simply a tiny fish in a giant ocean full of thousands, maybe millions of similar fish!

I’m not suggesting for one moment that a website should not form part of your marketing strategy.  What I’m saying is that the thrill of having the only website selling a particular product or service has gone.  Gone are the days of being able to produce a good website and finding customers flocking to your door.  Yet Telemarketing has been around since the telephone was invented.  The key issue here is that Internet Marketing now requires all the skills and focus required to succeed; all the skills and focus that Telemarketing Professionals have been using for decades.  The problem with Internet Marketing is that no one truly understands what is going on, whereas Telemarketing is a tried and tested method of gaining new business.

I recently spoke to a CEO of a major Association in the UK.  We had a long conversation about Internet Marketing V Telemarketing.  He told me that over the last 12 months, he interviewed the top brains from a number of Internet Marketing agencies and university professors.  The most striking point was that none of them could agree, upon the best way to bring in new business via the Internet.  Some argued that links were the most important aspect.  Others stated that search engine optimisation was the key, whilst others claimed it was all about Social Media.  Yet in tests, none of these experts were able to improve his website’s performance and some even made it worse.  In comparison, the Association still managed to steadily increase business by simply picking up the telephone and talking to people.  So what is the difference between Internet Marketing and Telemarketing?

Telemarketing means human interaction

I still remember the first time I went to a website, where a person popped up on the screen and started talking to me.  It was fun, it was creative and it was exciting.  That was more than ten years ago, but now it’s just downright annoying!  I quickly close a browser that annoys me, along with millions of other Internet users.  The point here is that website designers are seeking personal interaction, but a video of someone talking is not interaction at all.  This reminds me of those appalling offshore call centres who pretend they have been trained in Telemarketing.  They are like robots asking the same questions and not listening to a word that you say – that’s not interaction.  True Telemarketing works because people interact with one another and have a conversation.  Telemarketing offers the ability to ask questions directly and interact with the answers provided.  In comparison the Internet is cold and inhuman.  For many people, the Internet is about as stimulating as talking to a telephone system that asks you to dial 1 for Accounts, dial 2 for Human Resources, and on and on and on – until you are bored to sleep.

True Telemarketing is about researching who you want to do business with.  Then you build a database of prospective buyers.  You form a suitable pitch.  You call the prospects and interact with them,. You narrow down those with a need and those who do not have a need.  You ask pertinent questions.  You treat the potential buyer like a human being, throw in a little humour and charm, and you compare personal experiences.  It’s no surprise that appointments and sales pop out the other end of the system.  Show me an Internet site that can communicate in this way, and I’ll admit that the days of Telemarketing are over.  The technology for Internet Marketing to interact in the same way as a human being simply isn’t there yet and is unlikely to be available for decades.

Marketing 101 – choose your routes to market

Internet Marketing should be an essential part of your marketing mix.  A good website is necessary as your shop window and as a means of advertising your offering.  Probably the most important aspect of a good website, is good content and easy navigation.  If your prospective customer is interested and can find their way around a site easily – then you are more likely to do business with them.  Just don’t be fooled in to thinking that a good website is all you need.  If a market leader is spending tens of thousands of pounds a year on Internet Marketing, why do you think your £10k website will be noticed?  The telephone is a universal leveler  Hiring a Telemarketing Professional can put you on a level playing field with a multinational corporation.

Is Search Engine Optimisation important – yes!  Will pay-per-click help your marketing – yes!  All aspects of Internet Marketing, done correctly, should bring you the right results.  The problem is that those organisations with the greatest buying power are able to influence the Internet, in just the same way that other forms of advertising generally win with a bigger budget.  If you are the market leader and you have an enormous budget, then I’m not surprised that you are dominating the Internet.  If you are not the market leader, then don’t have a head-on battle with a whole regiment of giants – you’ll just get squashed!  Think smart and use a strategy that levels the playing field.  Professional Telemarketing can put you on that level playing field.

On a final note, let’s explore one darned good piece of logic, as to why Telemarketing is often more effective than Internet Marketing, when seeking new business.  Of all the calls I receive each week, 30% of interest in Professional Telemarketing comes from Internet Marketing companies.  I’m always happy to help a good Internet Marketing company with an interesting offering.  But it does tend to beg the question, if Internet Marketing is the best way to win new business, why are Internet Marketing companies asking for me to conduct Telemarketing for them?

If you are looking for new business – why not call me today on 01639 850 817.

Stephen Law is a Business Development expert. Over a 25 year period, Stephen worked has worked from a Foot Canvasser and Telemarketing Junior in the 1980s to an Executive Director and Company Secretary in the 1990s. Stephen's sales and marketing career spanned the IT, Communications and Technology sectors, where he was always top in his field. Stephen has also been head of Manufacturing, HR, and R&D for a number of organisations. In 2005, Stephen decided to form his own company offering Business Development via Consultative Telemarketing. Few people enjoy telemarketing as much as Stephen and fewer still understand how to communicate effectively with senior decision makers. Stephen is an Associate Partner of the No1 UK Business Development Agency and an Honorary Director at the LCDA for Business Development, where he has taught the Art of Selling at London South Bank University.

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