Writing is on the wall for cold calling

Congratulations on the best article on telemarketing this year “Hanging on the telephone” (MW Factfile August 13).

The days of cold tele-selling to consumers are numbered. With 75 per cent of consumers in your survey being keen to opt out of receiving cold calls, political regulation in this area is inevitable.

Yet it is the old story of direct marketing.

True direct marketers want to forever find ways to seek out those who are interested and avoid wasting money on those who are not.

This means using all the marketing techniques available, including traditional advertising and point-of-sale, to get consumers to invite further contact by telephone or mail.

Telephone cold callers and mass-mailers misunderstand the principles and opportunities of highly targeted direct marketing, and are in danger of messing it up for the rest of us.

So we see the future of telemarketing to consumers as being in-bound response, customer surveys and research, and cross-selling.

We believe that only in business-to-business relations will cold calling (appointment setting mainly) have a long-term role.

It is hard to see how you could stop this without undermining the whole way businesses work.

This thinking has led us to build a telemarketing function dedicated to consumer research, in-bound response, data enhancement and business appointment setting.

I wonder if others will be re-drawing their business plans in this area.

James Davies

Research and planning director

FFwd Precision Marketing

Haddenham

Bucks

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