Telemarketing Software Featured Article

In the Telemarketing Software Space, Marketing and Privacy are Frequently at Odds

November 05, 2012
By Steve Anderson - Contributing Telemarketing Software Writer

The modern telemarketing software force finds itself on the horns of an ever-increasing dilemma: businesses must get out the word about their products and services or risk failure. But with the refinement of marketing methods come better overall methods, and methods that create intrusion on the part of customers' lives. This has left marketers at odds with customers, and spawned a debate that doesn't seem to have an end in sight.

CRM software vendors know how vigilant consumers are when it comes to their privacy. But the quest for consumer privacy has even trickled down to the retailer level, where promising new technologies in terms of marketing must be carefully considered, potentially even curtailed, against the concerns over privacy. For instance, one vendor offered a facial recognition tool that would allow businesses to establish customer profiles similar to those offered by online businesses and then tailor their marketing to that individual customer's tastes. Naturally, privacy advocates cried foul as they believe shoppers had the right to shop without being tracked. Most notably, Pam Dixon with the World Privacy Forum, said that while stores had the right to install and use security cameras, those cameras were meant for security and not for marketing.

While Dixon later admitted that such use was not in itself illegal, it represents the biggest problem for businesses. While it's not necessarily a criminal act to use these kinds of technologies, what will the customers think? Some like WireSpring Technologies' CEO Bill Gerba suggest that businesses are too scared to use these technologies for fear of customer backlash.

It's indeed a good idea to be wary of customer reaction. After all, the point of telemarketing software is to get users interested, not keep them away, and if the customers are freaked out by the idea of using facial recognition in the store to keep track of their purchases and make suggestions accordingly, then it's a good idea to not use that technology. But at the same time, it's extremely unobtrusive, and most customers may not care as they expect to be recorded in a store anyway. Those trying to sell such applications need to bear that in mind as they present the value in such services to a potential customer; the businesses need tools that will make sales happen for both bigger and more frequent amounts. The businesses do not need tools that will "spook the herd" and have customers running for the exits.

With the appropriate level of transparency, and of course the application of substantial deals to make the customer appreciate the value of such a service, marketing practices—whether on the business to consumer level or on the business to business level (someone's got to sell that software, after all)—can be both encouraging to the customers and friendly to them as well.

Edited by Jamie Epstein