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Telemarketing: let’s all scream!

A funny thing happened a few months ago: a 61 year old German woman blew a telemarketer into the hospital with a small whistle. She was fed up with being cold called, and whistled loudly right down the telephone. She now has to pay a fine of 800 euro’s for the hearing damage at the telemarketer, but she refuses. Actually a very original thing to do, especially for people who don’t know that they can be registered so telemarketers won’t call them. People are sick and tired of us marketers. But there is hope.

Slasher movies
That is what is called Marketing, interrupting people to get attention, or to quote Seth Godin: “I am a marketer, I have money. That gives me the power to interrupt you […] But people are getting better and better at ignoring you”. Actually pretty absurd when you think of it, that we marketers see it as a profession to harrass people. And that we are abhorred by all the ‘rights’ that people have nowadays to protect themselves from us. But nothing will stop us: we will skip around their infofilters, anti-cookies and do-not-call-me-registries, we’ll just start selling at the door again, just like in the old days. Or we will pay their friends to recommend our products, or tweet about it. Isn’t this behavior absurd? Or is it me? It feels obsessive, like the script of a slasher movie, “Here’s Johnny”. Nobody escapes.
A characteristic example of this absurdism is shown in an article about so called ‘ad-blockers’ (browser plugins that hide advertising banners in Google Chrome) and in which a marketer utters the unforgettable words that “consumers of course have a “moral right’ to install ad-blockers, but that these blockers are ‘businesswise not sustainable'”. We marketers want to harass people with our advertisements of course, and all attempt to block this are of course not ‘sustainable’. Duh?

Cold dripping
“People shop and learn in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago, so marketers need to adopt or risk extinction”, Brian Halligen from Hubspot twittered recently. Yet still: if you follow all discussions in the marketing groups on LinkedIn, you will notice that still a lot of marketers want to take this risk at extinction: “Cold acquisition is still the best way to find new customers. People may feel harassed when you call them but in most cases you are bringing them money, arent you? 🙂 “. Notice the smiley at the end: dripping with contempt for the customer. And could you get away with this contempt in the previous century (click here for a nice docu about ‘sales boiler rooms’): we live in a transparant era now!

Jealous husbands
Why is it that we marketers so badly want to interrupt people? Why can’t we just leave them alone, and wait till they come and buy from us? Is it a scream for negative attention? In the last few weeks, I have been in discussions on LinkedIn with people that earn their money with ‘outbound marketing’, and at one moment it struck me: we get impatient if we are not pushing the buttons…Like jealous husbands, we want to know exactly where our customers are, what they are watching, and feel uncomfortable if we cannot find them. We cannot cope with the idea of anonymous people watching our content, we have to know who they are and call them five minutes after downloading our whitepaper (“I just saw that you”…). We cannot leave them alone, we need their money and fast.
A few weeks ago I ordered the long awaited book from Doc Searls about the ‘Intention Economy’. He had already written an impressive article (click here) on his theory in the Harvard Business Review (and I dragged him into a LinkedIn discussion about the subject, click here). In the article, he tells about the future ‘Intention Economy’, when the customer finally has all the power and “tracking customers like animals” no longer makes sense. Consumers ‘throw their intentions in the air’ and potential suppliers can catch them. For us marketers, this means an enormous turnaround in thinking, we will have to learn to be successful in another way… But the beauty of it is: the rest of the world will enjoy too, because we don’t have to bother them any longer.

“Selling starts the moment the customer said ‘no’. When people start ordering blindly, you will not need salesmen anymore“, someone said in a LinkedIn group. Actually a very typical remark, because ‘alas’ we live in a time that customers become more and more independent and mature in the buying process. Be honest: do you still listen to marketers or salesmen when you want to buy something? And what do you do when the commercials start on TV? Wait and listen? Apparantly, the world needs something different. And the whistle market will notice.

This post is the first chapter of the yet to be written book (click here) about ‘REAL Inbound Marketing’. All comments are welcome!

 

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A book about REAL inbound marketing? Who will help me?

It’s going to happen. I decided. The pressure from outside and within got too big.

I am going to write a book.

There. I said it. A book about Inbound Marketing. REAL Inbound Marketing. What Inbound Marketing is? It’s eh the opposite of Outbound Marketing, and that’s the traditional marketing in which we interrupt people at what they find interesting (e.g. watching a movie) because we want to shout a small message in their ears. More and more companies are switching their marketing from Outbound to Inbound, although I noticed that they still want to do a little bit of outbound marketing: when you download their whitepaper you have to fill in your ‘resume’ and they will call you in 5 minutes. That is what I call semi-inbound marketing, and I see it as a phase. REAL inbound marketing is inbound till the end: the customer will lead the dance. And to quote Doc Searls: “The market will have many more dances when customers can take the lead”.

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The pressure from outside
I heard it more and more often: “Why don’t you write a book about Inbound Marketing? If someone should, it’s you”. But the most important pressure from outside came from the many marketeers who are still interrupting people with expensive Outbound Marketing. Marketeers that cry about laws that restrict them in harrassing their customers by telephone, mail or tracking cookies. Big LinkedIn discussions about how terrible the governments are treating these poor marketeers who are restricted in stalking their customers. But it’s the stalking that put us marketeers at the bottom of the ‘most reliable professional’ list. Am I the only marketeer that is not happy with this position? Don’t we want to change that? Do we want to wait till the next law restricts our hunting behavior?
I’d like to help the image of the marketeer by turning them from hunters to fisherman. Those who put authentic and relevant content online and wait till someone bites. Who show their real, authentic face on social media. Inbound marketeers. But REAL inbound marketing, not the semi-inbound marketing in which the sales department still hunts you, but only after you downloaded a whitepaper.

The pressure from within
I have had to accept it, there is a writer inside me. When I decided to start blogging, I had to push myself writing each next post. Now I see potential subjects every day, and I don’t know which to choose. It’s mainly an e-book from Jeff Goins (click here) about writing books that persuaded me to start doing it. And eh stop it again after two weeks. Because although writing blogs can go pretty quickly, I noticed that writing a book gets you stuck very easily. But then I came upon an idea that suits me: write the book in parts in your blog.

The Plan
So that’s what I’m going to do. From next week on, I will start writing the first chapter, in which the blog will be sort of a summary. I presume something like ‘Why Outbound Marketing doesn’t work anymore’. And I also would like some help: anyone that actively collaborates on my mission by responding to the chapter-blogs, will (of course) be sent the e-book for free. I’m curious. I’m motivated. Let’s start. Who will dance with me?

 

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