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How to Use the Phone for Data Driven Marketing

Using the phone for data driven marketing is different than sales. The practice of making calls to potential customers is frequently called outbound telemarketing. This term is somewhat misleading. Call centers in most companies are not engaged in marketing at all. They are engaged in either sales or customer service or both.

What’s the difference between marketing and sales, anyway? A simple example can help you understand. Say you work for an automobile dealership. Your database tells you that the lease on a car is expiring soon. So you send a letter describing your newest cars and the latest and greatest lease terms. In this letter you invite the customer in to the dealership to take a look. This is marketing.

Your goal as a marketer is to get the customer in the door. Once the customer shows up at the dealership, the marketing role ends. The customer is then greeted by a salesperson whose job it is to seal the deal, as the saying goes.

As a database marketer, you don’t manage your company’s telephone sales efforts. For one thing, outbound calling is generally prohibitively expensive as a marketing channel for large volume campaigns. It involves setting up call scripts, tracking the closing rates of the call center employees, and a host of other functions.

You do have a role in telephone sales, though, because you’re the one with the customer data. For this reason you may be asked to provide your call center with at least some of their call lists. You may also be involved in managing do-not-call lists.

There may also be times when it makes sense for you to contact a small number of customers by phone based on something you spot in your database. A mistake in an order, a cancelled transaction, or some other unusual circumstance may justify a customer service call to address some particular concern. These types of campaigns are sometimes called event-triggered campaigns.

Though phone calls are not widely used as a marketing tool, phone numbers still play an important role, of course. In managing your database, phone numbers can provide useful information that links guest data together into households.

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