Business Theory & Practice

Direct Mail, Email Blasts, and Outbound Telemarketing: Brangelina Marketing

Direct Mail, Email Blasts, and Outbound Telemarketing: Brangelina Marketing


How could direct mail, email blasts, and telemarketing be similar to Angelina’s and Brad’s relationship; none of these work anymore.

At one time, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were Hollywood’s power couple.  For a period of 10+ years, the paparazzi chronicled their every move from jaunts to the grocery store, to attending award ceremonies, to playing with their children. The world watches them for more than just their physical beauty. Their typical remuneration per movie ($15M for Angelina and $20M for Brad) was less like a salary and more like a winning Powerball ticket. Angelina and Brad also shared their lives with six beautiful children ranging in ages from eight to fifteen.  They seemed to have it all fame, fortune, and family; yet it all stopped working.

The same may be said about the early days of sales and marketing in the small – medium business (SMB) segment.  Direct mail, email blasts, and cold call telemarketing were the primary choices when trying to persuade buyers in this segment.  Literally, millions of dollars were spent mailing, emailing, and calling SMB prospects in the hopes of receiving a returned direct mail piece, a reply to an email message, or simply a kind hello from someone that didn’t slam the phone in your ear.    For more than 10+ years these tactics worked for selling products and services.   Then, like Angelina and Brad’s marriage, it stopped working. Some may point to the year 2003 as the beginning of the end for these practices.  That year the national do not call (DNC) registry was introduced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in October 2003 for residential telephone numbers.  Millions of people placed their telephone numbers on the registry.  Business-to-business calls were exempt from the DNC regulations, however, clever SMB organizations placed their numbers on the registry and were not called as a majority of telemarketers simply excluded each number that was found on the DNC list from their calling campaigns.  The publicity surrounding the introduction of the DNC registry  portrayed telemarketers as inconsiderate organizations that demanded regulation.  This was certainly a blow causing many organizations to exit the industry.   Fresh off their success with the DNC registry, the FTC went to work promoting the CAN-SPAM Act that was signed into law in December of 2003.  The CAN-SPAM act placed very strict guidelines on email communications between businesses and prospective clients.  Non-adherence to the CAN-SPAM guidelines may result in penalties of $16,000.00 per each violation.

That year the national do not call (DNC) registry was introduced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in October 2003 for residential telephone numbers.  Millions of people placed their telephone numbers on the registry.  Business-to-business calls were exempt from the DNC regulations, however, clever SMB organizations placed their numbers on the registry and were not called as a majority of telemarketers simply excluded each number that was found on the DNC list from their calling campaigns.  The publicity surrounding the introduction of the DNC registry  portrayed telemarketers as inconsiderate organizations that demanded regulation.  This was certainly a blow causing many organizations to exit the industry.

This was certainly a blow causing many organizations to exit the industry.   Fresh off their success with the DNC registry, the FTC went to work promoting the CAN-SPAM Act that was signed into law in December of 2003.  The CAN-SPAM act placed very strict guidelines on email communications between businesses and prospective clients.  Non-adherence to the CAN-SPAM guidelines may result in penalties of $16,000.00 per each violation.

Direct mail hasn’t been as severely impacted by governmental regulation but its effectiveness as a sales technique is on the wane.  According to the Direct Marketing Association 2012 report, direct mail response rates have dropped nearly 25 percent over the last nine years.

Much like Angelina and Brad find themselves feeling stressed at this moment, business owners using these dated methods to acquire new clients must retrench and seek new alternatives.  One such alternative that’s been supremely successful in generating new clients is Inbound Marketing.  Inbound marketing’s key component is content that drives prospects to your site for ideas on how to improve their business. A great example of this is Hubspot.

Brangelina marketing may be on its way out, but who knows what the future holds for them as separate entities.

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Randall Smith – 1stel Marketing Analyst
rsmith@1stel.com

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werkLab Studios

werkLab Studios