One of the most popular icons associated with St. Patrick’s Day is the legendary leprechaun. But like many creatures of folklore, people have interpreted them in two ways. One is the typical old fairy dressed in green and the other is the same only he’s uglier and just downright evil.
Surprisingly, it’s not much different with a lot business industries and telemarketing is one of them.
It’s no mystery that telemarketing has a bad rep and it’s one professionals deal with day in and day out. That’s why it’s teaches a great lesson for many brands when the general public has two contrasting views of their business.
The Two Versions
But first, let’s look back at the leprechaun. What exactly are the two versions people have about this creature?
- Pop/Sugar Version – Well one version is the popular version: little old man in green with a personality solely ripped off Irish stereotypes.
- “Real” Version – This usually covers everything that the other version is not. This one is ‘closer’ to true folklore, is potentially deadly, and not even dressed in green.
Now let’s take that and apply it to telemarketing:
- Pop/Sugar Version – Annoying robocallers, sales pitchers, and strongly associated with scams as well as political campaigns. It’s this image of the telemarketing industry that has many consumer advocates cracking down on its scammers and calling on agencies like the FTC to implement tighter controls (if not banning the industry entirely).
- “Real” Version – Today real telemarketers are becoming increasingly focused in the B2B sector. Even when prospects can look up businesses themselves, it is difficult to complete the sales process without exchanging with a live representative. You can even take out the word telemarketing and you’ll still be stuck with a phone and a number that needs dialing.
Here’s the real shocker. The lesson here isn’t about making one version more well-known than the other. Rather, it’s about how both are needed to form a complete picture, the complete truth about your industry. In the case of telemarketers, the pop version is something that highlights problems the industry needs to address. It also needs to take a stand when advocates are overstepping and calling restrictions that may not apply when telemarketing is used under a different context. Meanwhile, the real version (meaning the version that the industry has of itself) should keep at it in spite of the negative stereotyping.
In fact, even B2B firms like are Marketo are now drawing attention from the B2C space. That says a lot about how B2B marketing tactics like telemarketing represent a change that’s greater than the method itself. The labels might be different but the resources remain the same. So when it seems like your industry has two sides to it, look to yourself as the source because they’re simply different reflections of the same thing.
The Two Sides of Telemarketing (and Why They Matter)