Do-not-call telemarketing restrictions and e-mail spam filters will shift marketing tactics to more effective means of customer engagement: capturing mind share during inbound interactions (e.g., service request or order placement) and placing online advertising on contextually relevant Web locations, according to META Group.
The National Do Not Call Registry (scheduled to go into effect October 1, 2003) and technology advances in unsolicited e-mail detection (spam filters) are already diminishing the effectiveness of current outbound marketing methods (e.g., telemarketing, mass e-mail). META Group advises companies to respond to this trend by increasing their efforts to engage customers and prospects when they are most receptive to receiving messages -- when they contact the company for information or make requests for products or services.
Companies will not suddenly cease telemarketing or e-mailing existing customers and individuals who have "opted in" to e-mail lists. However, during the next three years, customer- and context-specific inbound marketing communications will assume an increasing importance in the marketing toolkit, enhancing (and in some cases replacing) unsolicited or non-personalized mass outbound communications.
"Now that telemarketing and mass e-mail have lost some of their impact, organizations should immediately consider supplementing existing customer outbound cross-sell/up-sell 'engage' activities with privacy-sensitive inbound marketing strategies, like real-time recommendations via call centers," says META Group vice president Elizabeth Roche.
When prospecting for new customers via the online channel, META Group suggests that organizations implement contextually relevant Web advertising and sponsored search results on heavily trafficked search engines. As part of this effort, companies must review their lead management processes to ensure that online leads are promptly processed, acknowledging the expectation of immediate results that online consumers often have.
"The resurgence of online advertising, driven by contextual placement of ads using commercial search services, has brought online marketing full circle," says META Group vice president Tim Hickernell. "These ads are far less intrusive and target the consumer's self-identified 'buy impulse.' If equipped with computer telephony capability, Web ads can now act as a direct 'click to talk' gateway to an organization's call center, where trained representatives can offer appropriate marketing messages and maximize the conversion into sales."
META Group provides information technology research, advisory services, and strategic consulting.