As the United States Postal Service struggles with a declining volume and revenue that will not cover its existing cost structure, we are going to see a dramatic rise in calls from the infamous “telemarketers.” It has started already and a First Class Postage Stamp is only $0.45 cents but the stamp cost is expected to climb to $0.50 cents per stamp along with the elimination of Saturday mail delivery. Marketing efforts by many of the major companies search today to reach their markets. Newspapers are struggling as hard print is getting to be more and more expensive. The answer seems to be flood the American public with millions and millions of telephone calls.
There are over 5,000 telemarketing companies in the United States, and revenues for the industry total about $500 billion dollars per year. Telemarketers place 148,000,000 junk calls per day. A lot of people fail to realize that charities make more money from selling your name and number to telemarketing companies than from the donations they collect from calling. The average American is called 2 to 3 times a day by a telemarketer. The National Association of Attorneys General estimates that about 5,000,000 Americans are defrauded by telemarketers every year and that one in five of them do not report the fraud.
Now people say that we have a “Do Not Call List” now but “Do Not Call Lists” do not exempt people from getting calls from political campaigns, charities, and some nonprofit groups, or from companies with whom you have done business with recently. In addition, enforcement of the “National Do Not Call List” is ineffective, even though more than 300,000 complaints have been filed against unwanted telemarketers. In most cases, enforcement of the “Do Not Call List” is also impossible beyond the U.S. borders so calls can be placed to anyone from a foreign call center regardless of the customer they are calling for.
Assuming that the letter that you want to mail is not oversize and is not overweight, a First Class letter with postage at $0.45 cents per letter, plus paper, envelope, preparation, etc. can easily run in the area of $0.5854 cents each. Now send out two hundred letters in a mailing and you have run up a decent sized bill of approximately $117.08. Now there are a myriad of factors in the cost of a telemarketing call but a conservative estimate would be about $0.31 cents per call on the average. An operator can usually make between 40 and 80 calls per hour. Typically, this $0.31 cents per call includes the training and upkeep of the program as well as the programming and data plus the cost of the telephone system. Using the latest technology of auto dialing capabilities, several hundred calls could be made in a day. So if you divided the mailing cost of $117.08 by the cost of $0.31 cents per call, the result is that you could reach 377 prospects versus 200 contacts using the mailing. Obviously telemarketers sell the instantaneous aspect of their services versus a 3 to 5 day wait for a letter.
Many believe that in the 1950s, Dial America Marketing became the first company completely dedicated to inbound and outbound telephone sales and service. The company was spun off and sold by Time, Inc. magazine in 1976. The term telemarketing was first used extensively in the late 1970s to describe Bell Systems communication efforts relating to outbound WATS and inbound Toll-free services.
Telemarketing will no doubt change in the coming years. The days of low skilled telemarketers working from a script to make calls are over. Moving forward there is a requirement to hire the best resource, pay individuals the right money and use the telemarketing effort as an integral part of a larger marketing campaign. I would anticipate that the calls will become more sophisticated but this will only be a small segment of the telemarketing effort. It may be a long, long time before the calls stop from Oregon, South Dakota, and Wyoming. In the meantime, you may still have to shut off the ringer on your telephone at dinner time.