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Telemarketers eye alternatives
Report: AT&T, others to shift efforts to direct mail, e-mail due to 'do-not-call' list.
July 2, 2003: 10:30 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Companies that are major users of telemarketing calls are preparing to shift efforts to e-mail and direct mail once a new federal "do-not-call" list takes effect in October, according to a published report.

As of Tuesday morning about 12.5 million Americans have signed up to block phone solicitations in the first four days of the program, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Solicitors who call homes on the list after Oct. 1 face fines of up to $11,000 per call. Another 14 million homes are being transferred from state do-not-call registries, and 60 million homes are eventually expected to sign up to block calls by calling the FTC or signing up on its Web site.

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The Wall Street Journal said Wednesday that companies such as AT&T and Allstate Insurance are looking to shift some of their sales efforts away from the phone solicitations that have been central to their business plans in the past.

"We plan to shift into other communication mediums, and rely more heavily on traditional TV advertising and e-mail marketing," Allstate acting Chief Marketing Officer Todd DeYoung told the paper. "We also plan to stimulate inbound call volume by doing more directed advertising and more direct mail."

But the companies won't drop their phone banks altogether. They believe that those who do not sign up for the do-not-call list will be more open to telephone pitches and that could help their phone solicitation efforts.

"We'll be giving the dog what the dog wants to eat," James F. Lyons, president of direct-marketing consultancy Optima Direct told the paper.

The paper said that in addition to seeing more e-mail or junk mail, consumers who call companies on other business may now have to listen to sales pitches while negotiating voice mail messages.  Top of page




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