Monday, September 29, 2008

Do Not Call Reduces Annoying Telemarketing Calls, But Encourages Spam Mail

Canada's National Do Not Call List (DNCL) comes into effect today, which is good news for anyone who receives those annoying phone calls during dinner that ask if you're happy with your current car insurance provider. All you have to do is register at, and telemarketers will not be permitted to contact you by phone. If they violate this rule, they could be fined up to $15,000! It sounds great, but does this mean they'll stop trying to contact you for good? Not quite.

A survey conducted on behalf of Pitney Bowes by Harris/Decima finds that 66% of businesses that currently market their products and services by phone will simply switch to the direct mail method. Great. So my dinner, favourite TV show, or early Saturday morning will no longer be interrupted by some student reading robotically from a script, but my mailbox will be crammed with even more junk mail for recycling that I don't even open.

Nevertheless, direct mail campaigns obviously work to some degree, as long as the recipient is interested in your product or service. The same survey found that 26% of Canadians would be more likely to read unsolicited mail ifit were personalized. And the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) reports that every $1 spent in direct mail brings in $11 of business; more than twice as much as any other medium. (If this is the case, though, than wny wouldn't companies just go the direct mail route from the get-go?)

While the study was commissioned by Pitney Bowes with an obvious slant to snail mail campaigns, I'm sure that there are other studies that show many marketers will opt for the e-mail route as well. Online advertising spends will likely also go up as another method to reach customers. Funnily enough, my mom sent out an e-mail blast this morning letting everyone know about the DNCL, and suggesting that, while adding your name to the list might eliminate the calls, you could end up with "door-to-door (ding dong) telemarketers". (And yes, believe it or not, my mom is Internet-savvy!)

Rest assured that telephone or not, marketers will find a way to get their message out, whether it's by ding-dong door calls (selling vacuums, perhaps?) or a few extra letters in the mail every morning.

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Anonymous said...

You will notice that there is an exemption list for telemarketers who CAN contact you regardless of the DNCL, and the exceptions allow for quite a bit of leeway and, likely, interpretation. In fact, looking at the exemption list, those who qualify are the ones that annoy me the most including:
- newspapers looking for subscriptions (they call several times a week)
- companies with whom consumers have an existing commercial relationship; for example, if a consumer has done business with a company in the previous 18 months

The last point leaves a nice big loophole for a lot of us, I'm sure!

Marketnews - Christine Persaud said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for pointing that out. You are very right! In fact, I alluded to that in a blog post last year when the list was originally confirmed ( Hopefully they won't stretch this loophole to the max!