In this age of short attention spans and unprecedented amounts of brand messaging pushed to individuals, marketers constantly look for more effective ways to communicate and sell. Some tools lead to quick and easy conversion, others go unnoticed and sometimes customers are downright irritated.

The increase of handsets in Africa, with the African continent being a mobile first society, has led to even more telemarketing by brands that look to convert leads. Most friends, family and colleagues point to cutting these calls short and stopping the caller long before the sale is made. Conversations also pointed to the rare instances when the salesperson’s style and technique kept them listening long enough to buy into the product or service. In essence, although this is proving to be a less valuable medium, there are contexts in which it can be utilised alongside digital and other platforms.

Automated digital integration made its way onto these calls making them sound more like robots than human beings. As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons that people around me say they were converted was because of human interaction. Going from the default position of ignoring an unsolicited sales call to pressing a number to hear more is a massive stretch for brands.

The increase in adoption of mobile apps such as Trucaller, more people are able to see who phones them and, as a result, ignore unsolicited brand messaging even easier than before. When brand messaging is subject to drowning in a sea of unsolicited marketing, robocalls may not do much justice to increase sales. People are also asking more questions about how secure their data is when these unsolicited sales calls keep creeping onto handsets.

Telemarketing still has a place in the modern marketing mix, when it is properly executed and serves a need for the customer, not the blanket approach that brands and political parties tend to use. The growth of artificial intelligence may lead to the evolution of automated calls but we are still not there yet. If more brands can match the need, human interaction and a customer who is looking for a product we may see some winners.