Last week, we revealed how our readers and social media followers prefer to keep in touch with their family and friends. Just to quickly recap, here’s what you all had to say:
- Text Messaging — 33.3%
- Phone Calls — 33.3%
- Social Media Public Posts/Comments — 13.3%
- Social Media Private Messaging — 6.7%
- Face-to-face Conversation — 6.7%
- Facetime/Video Chat — 6.7%
Today, our team weighs in on the dangers of brands infringing on consumers’ personal communication bubbles, historically through the use of telemarketing and now text message marketing.
Marketing Rule #1: Don’t piss off your customers.
Raise your hand if you’re a fan of cold-call telemarketers.
Yes? No? Maybe? Probably not.
Telemarketers have gotten a bad rap over the years because of the unsolicited sales tactics that have often been employed to turn unsuspecting people into quick money.
That’s not the best business model if your goal is to cultivate a family of loyal customers who trust and invest in your products and services.
And now that texting is a widely used form of communication, brands have started to employ this marketing method to engage customers. In fact, early last year, Business.com wrote an entire article encouraging the industry to use text message marketing.
But is this really the best advice? Knowing how the public perceives unsolicited telemarketing phone calls, could text messages sent by brands become the next marketing red flag?
Q&A with the Seafoam Team: Tele- and Text Message Marketing Edition
To help answer this question, we asked our team to weigh in on the gravity of solicited and unsolicited phone calls or text messages from brands. Here are just some of the things they had to say:
How do you feel when you receive an UNSOLICITED phone call from a brand or telemarketer?
“I don’t answer. Life is too short and my phone is too busy. I save my phone time for calls that matter to me. (In my early 20’s I took great delight in messing with telemarketers so I feel like this is kinder. Me and my roommates used to see how much of their script we could get telemarketers to spell for us.)” — Liz
“They are mildly annoying, but I don’t mind too much. If cold calling didn’t work, they probably wouldn’t do it.” — Brian
“Only mildly bothered because, honestly, I don’t answer. If I don’t recognize the number I let it go to voicemail. If, on the odd chance that I pick up, I discover it’s a sales call, I hang up. I’m, uh, pretty protective of my time I guess.” — Holly
How do you feel when you receive an EXPECTED phone call from a brand or telemarketer?
“Okay if I specifically asked them to call me. Can’t stand when I’m forced to enter my phone number when signing up for something and then they use it to call me 10 seconds later.” — Nikki
“I am okay with this, and will anticipate clearing out time to talk.” — Jake
“I don’t think I’ve ever expected a call from a telemarketer, but if I ever did expect a call, I wouldn’t be angry.” — Courtney
How do you feel when you receive an UNSOLICITED text message from a brand or marketer?
“Ew. Delete.” — Nikki
“Anger, rage, and rapid unsubscribe.” — Liz
“In my opinion, text messages are reserved for only my family and friends. Brands can try to engage with me via email (click the SPAM button), on social media (ads are a necessary evil) and wherever else they may be, but texting me is a violation of my private communication bubble.” — Zach
“These are cool. I save the numbers and add them to my contacts so that it looks like I have more friends than I actually do.” — Brian
“Rage. I hate this. I resent the time I spent glancing at and immediately deleting the text. Not a way to gain my business.” — Holly
How do you feel when you receive an EXPECTED text message from a brand or marketer?
“Okay usually – though I usually only sign up for stuff like this to get an instant coupon then I’m annoyed when they keep texting me.” — Nikki
“If I have ordered a product from a brand, I don’t mind receiving a, ‘Hey, your item has shipped’ or ‘Your order is ready for pickup’ message. Since texting is my personal communication bubble, I would prefer to receive these messages via email, but I will take a text message in this case, if I am expecting it.” — Zach
“I always try and clear out any time to read expected messages and will invest in giving good feedback if they ask.” — Jake
“I only want to see those if they’re directly related to a recent transaction. Otherwise, see previous answer.” — Holly
“It’d better be a coupon!” — Ashlee
If you would like to read more of our teammates’ responses to these questions, click here.
As with any brand, it’s important to understand your customers: their wants, their needs, and even their challenges. Then you have to employ your marketing strategy to satisfy these wants, needs, and challenges.
In addition to that, your marketing strategy should also respect your customers’ privacy and personal preferences. Your brand should appear where your consumers expect you to be and should refrain from occupying the spaces where you simply don’t belong.
As our team responses revealed, the majority of Seafoamers dislike or ignore unsolicited phone calls and text messages but don’t mind solicited phone calls and text messages.
Considering that our poll takers voted that phone calls and text messages were the preferred ways to stay in contact with loved ones, imagine how they would feel if brands regularly engaged these channels beyond their customers’ consent to sell their products.
Share Your Thoughts
But don’t let us put words in your mouth; speak for yourself! Tell us on our Facebook and Twitter pages what you think about receiving solicited and unsolicited brand communications via phone calls or text messages. Do you have an example of when a company communication went too far? How did that experience make you feel? What should the company have done instead?
We can’t wait to hear what you have to say!