The Cold Call


Mobile Targeted Marketing

As featured on mUmBRELLA November 17, 2013.

Most vendor sales calls these days push the message of using our data to develop targeted customer communications. Why? Because customers will relate better to messages tailored to their specific needs.

As a marketer I’m completely sold on the idea of using data for more effective targeted communications and our marketing is moving in this direction. But I’ve come to question whether vendors actually practice what they preach. Do they use their own technology or other digital technologies to better target potential clients or do they rely on the scattergun approach?

Recently, I was feeling particularly mischievous and I thought I’d test my question on the next random sales phone call. I rarely pick up my desk phone because 99% of the anonymous phone numbers are sales calls. But this day was different – I was going to engage the sales person and determine the level of research they had completed on my business and whether I had been specifically targeted based on the available data (what they preach) or if it was a random scattergun approach.

The sales call was regarding targeted mobile messaging. He explained that if someone has our app and drives past one of our locations, a targeted message could be pushed to them once a geo boundary had been tripped.

I have been to a few presentations on targeted mobile messaging recently and was able to ask targeted questions to see if the sales person understood the business.

During the conversation the sales person also identified themselves as former advertising agency executive, which makes the following highlights from the conversation even more interesting:

When discussing the technology he was advised b=me was only iOS compatible. I asked if he realised our app was iOS, Android and Windows. His response: “Didn’t know that.”

I asked if he knew our primary business is roadside assistance and our 900+ vans are mobile and therefore not bricks and mortar, and questioned how the targeted message would triggered? His response: “Didn’t realise that.”

I was then advised this technology would be good for the insurance business. I asked if he knew they had called the NRMA Motoring & Services business and explained the insurance business was a completely separate business since 2002. Response: “I didn’t know that.”

I asked if he knew if any of our other products and services might be suitable? For example, we have 15 car servicing locations. Response: he didn’t know about the other products.

I refrained from using my final two points in relation to mobile messaging the first of which is the legal issue of someone picking up a message while driving (it’s illegal in New South Wales) and secondly, as a motoring organisation, we constantly push the safer driving and safer roads message.

I did have a small chuckle when I hung up the phone as this call was at the extreme end of a bad sales call, but it isn’t vastly different from a number of sales calls I have to listen to which are not targeted specifically to my business.

If you want me to consider your technology or services, how about you practice what you preach and try targeting your message to me first.

3 thoughts on “The Cold Call

  1. Jason, could not agree more I to get them all the time, your mischief approach sounds very much like something I would do, nothing better than messing with someones head who is not prepared properly. Seeing as I know you I can just imagine how much fun you had.


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