As the name suggests, telemarketing is a marketing strategy by contacting existing and potential customers through a telephone. The Marketing Association of New Zealand defines telemarketing as “the practice of communicating via the telephone for the purpose of generating business or enhancing relationships with customers or potential customers.” Telemarketing is a widely practised form of marketing, especially in a large continent country like Australia. The huge distances between places, along with the existence of isolated communities, leave organizations no choice but to resort to marketing techniques like telemarketing and email marketing. This is especially true for smaller companies with offices in just one or two places. They cannot afford the cost of sending marketing people to meet customers all across the country.
Telemarketing has a lot of uses, and an organization can benefit from it if properly planned and implemented.
Time: Time is of the essence in business, and using the telephone to either obtain orders or to fix appointments can save a lot of time. By doing this, a company can avoid travelling time and also reduce the risk of not finding the customer at his premises.
Cost: When compared to other methods of sales promotion like media advertising, roadshows, exhibitions, field marketing etc., telemarketing is relatively cheap. Basically, only the cost of making the call is incurred, and practically all other expenditures can be avoided.
Instant response: Unlike media advertising and roadshows, the result is usually instantaneous. The customer will either reject or accept an offer. In either case, the telemarketer can move on to the next customer.
Territory expansion: From a single office, a company can cover a large area. This is especially useful in a large country like Australia. If an order is obtained from a distant area, the goods can be dispatched through post or courier in case the company does not have an office or representative there.
Improve customer relations: Telephone calls can be made more frequently to a customer than personal visits. An enquiry after-sales as to the performance of a product will make the customer happy and will go a long way in improving customer relations.
Lower remuneration: There is a general trend that telemarketers are paid less than high performing field staff.
Versatility: The same telephone can be used to make marketing calls, do after-sales calls, surveys, announcing offers and other benefits etc.
Immediate startup: Once the communication equipment has been set up, marketing can be done immediately. After obtaining an initial calling list, subsequent additions can be added in stages.
In spite of all the advantages, telemarketing is often misused and is usually seen as a nuisance by many customers. The Australian government has strict guidelines on making unwanted calls by formulating the Do Not Call Register Act. A person can register with the government under this Act and can avoid future calls from marketing persons. But the government has exempted certain non-profit agencies and certain types of calls from this list.