26 April 2010 Category: Blog

A common question asked by our client base is "should I send out an email and follow up using telemarketing, or should I call my prospects "cold" and use email for follow up?". Most telemarketing campaigns have a degree of integration with other channels - Integration delivers multiplied efficiency, with a "whole greater than the sum of the parts" outcome when executed correctly, so it is a key question.

It might at first glance that the answer is obvious. It seems intuitively correct that you'd always email (or send direct mail) first and then follow up by telemarketing. This allows you to generate an initial response from the mailer at low cost and then develop further response using the more expensive of the two channels. It also seems like a great "icebreaker" to follow up on something that has already been sent to the prospect. Moreover, with the various systems available to track readers of your marketing emails and even the particular areas of interest that they spent time looking at, there's scope to tightly target the messaging.

However, there is often a strong argument for reversing the sequence - calling first and emailing second. The best examples are provided by the seemingly well designed integrated campaigns that we see fail every year because of data. Put simply, if you don't have a high quality database, with contact names and individual email addresses for the right decision makers for your offering, mailing or emailing first is a waste of time and money. We've seen clients send out very high value mailers or sample CD's to completely unsuitable databases. It quickly becomes clear as you start the telemarketing follow up that 95% of the mailers haven't been seen, meaning you are starting the call "cold" anyway. This is not only a waste of money, it can actually damage calling performance if you start each call with "did you see the email I sent you" and the prospect can immediately and honestly answer "no, I didn't".

It's relatively quick and cheap to call either at switchboard or department level and to ask for the contact details for the person responsible for managing the problem that your product or service solves. It will deliver a very high quality database and sometimes it's the only way to obtain a useable list. If you have a website content management system for enterprises, mailing "the marketing manager" and hoping for the best is not going to work in the vast majority of cases, Finding out who is actually responsible for managing the content by asking will be vastly more productive. Email can then be sent to the correct contact who can be followed up effectively by phone.

Integrated marketing is wonderful when it works well, but if it's not thought through properly, there is a risk that you will simply multiply the inefficiencies caused by a few bad initial decisions.....

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