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This chapter is from the book

Telemarketing: Interruption Marketing vs. Interception Marketing

Outside-in marketing is based on the simple premise that successful digital marketing allows the audience to tell you what they need so you can provide it. “What if your audience doesn’t know that it wants what you are trying to sell? How can you attract them?” We have often been asked these questions by folks who have a vested interest in the status quo of inside-out marketing. For them, a part of every campaign involves some cold calling of prospects in a list they bought somewhere. The only intelligence they use in this method is to verify that the prospects have some likelihood to buy the product or service in the future. But they typically have no idea where the prospects are in the sales cycle—how ready they are to receive the message.

You might think that in the age of do-not-call lists and other consumer protections that telemarketing is dying. Not so. The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that there were a quarter of a million telemarketers engaged full time in the United States in 2012. This is about the same as it was in the previous reporting period. So telemarketing is still widespread and does not seem to be decreasing, especially when you consider that robo-calls are allowing the same number of telemarketers to make even more calls per person. But telemarketing techniques usually fail or at least produce ill will that costs you in other ways.

Why? Because prospects don’t like getting interrupted. Even those who tolerate interruption are less apt to act favorably to these interruptions for a simple reason: It takes a lot of mental effort to change one’s train of thought. Think about the last time you got a call from a group that fit with your attitudes—perhaps a charity that supports the families of kids with cancer. If you said “no,” the likely reason is that you were engaged with some other project, and you just didn’t want to think about something else at that time.

This is the problem with interruption marketing. Even those who might be interested at some time are rarely interested at the time marketers interrupt them. This is no diatribe against telemarketing. Telemarketing is merely an example of interruption marketing.

Some marketers claim that it’s normal for at least part of your market not to know that they need your product. And it is. But “educational” marketing is no different from any other kind of marketing: It’s much more effective when your audience is pulling the knowledge to them when needed than when you push it at them, regardless of need.

The data suggests that prospects are much more likely to respond favorably to messages if they are not required to change their train of thought to grasp them. When you intercept prospects already looking for answers to certain questions, and you give them the answers they are looking for, you are bound to be much more effective.

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