Yesmail Client Survey: Marketers Rank Digital Channels Highest, Telemarketing Lowest

When I was growing up, without fail, telemarketers would call my house right when my family was about to gather around the dinner table. I had no idea what the people on the line were selling when I said “Sorry, it’s dinner time” because I was too concerned with what meal my mom had prepared. Thankfully, those calls from telemarketers became far less frequent over the years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was a 58% decline in telemarketers between 2000 and 2013. What’s more, telemarketing is low on the marketing totem pole: the respondents in our client survey ranked the channel last in both 2013 and 2014, and even in last place, it experienced an 18% decrease year-over-year.

In addition to advances in technology making the once popular job of telemarketing nearly obsolete, the switch from marketers to consumers in the driver seat has given way to less intrusive marketing tactics. Methods like lifecycle and content marketing (see the increased importance of SEO above) enable customers to interact with brands on their own terms, including across channels, and derive more value from brands.

Though brick-and-mortar was tied with telemarketing for the bottom spot in the same channel preferences study in 2013, it experienced just a 6% drop in 2014. Physical store traffic has been on the decline as consumers increasingly shift their shopping online. More and more marketers have tried luring customers into stores through various promotions and experimented with technologies tied to mobile instead of fearing the devices because of showrooming. Other new tactics have included allowing shoppers to place orders online but pick up items in-store.

The Rise of Digital

This leads me to my next point—digital marketing. In our clients’ hierarchy of channel importance, email marketing led the way and the subsequent top three channels were exclusively digital. A recent report from Forrester revealed that 50% of marketing executives plan to increase digital spending this year, with mobile and social accounting for nearly one-third (30%) of the digital budget.

In the Yesmail survey, clients rated mobile 3% higher in 2014 than in 2013, perhaps as more of them used the channel as a bridge between the online and offline worlds to adapt to evolving consumer behavior. On the other hand, social fell 6% in terms of value to client marketers. One reason for the decline could be that while marketers have been able to measure how social drives brand awareness and engagement, attributing revenue to social media has been somewhat elusive in the past.

Overall, marketing (and how it’s measured) evolves just as quickly as consumer preferences do. We’d love to hear from you.

Which marketing channels are your top priorities for the remainder of the year?

Author Bio

Melissa Goss

Melissa helps companies make more strategic decisions around their marketing campaigns by providing content that spans blog and social media posts to white papers and case studies. Prior to Yesmail, she focused on search engine marketing and social advertising at online retailer ModCloth. Melissa graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in Communication Studies, a minor in Business and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications.