No, We Are Not Telemarketers!

October 5th, 2018 by Kathy Costello

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I recently spent an entire weekend hanging out with a bunch of people that I had just met. And as usually happens among people who’ve never met, the conversation quickly turned to what we do for a living. My conversations this weekend were typical of countless previous conversations I’ve had over the years, and went something like this:

So what do you do?

I own a market research company, along with 2 partners.

Oh really? So, you’re the person calling me all day long that I hang up on?

No, we’re not telemarketers. We don’t make cold calls – that’s not what we do. Our clients are people that have questions about their business and, depending on what they want to know – we do research to help them answer those questions.

Uh huh.

But unlike telemarketing, it doesn’t involve hassling people – everyone involved has volunteered to participate. Sometimes we do online or in-person surveys. Sometimes we run focus groups – are you familiar with focus groups?

Oh, you do focus groups? Yeah, I know what they are. And I’ve seen lots of surveys online too. Cool.

I’ve found that most non-marketing/non-research folks have a rudimentary awareness of focus groups and surveys, and as soon as I say those magic words – they get the difference. I don’t mind explaining what I do as a market researcher – on the contrary – I enjoy enlightening people. It’s just unfortunate that market research is synonymous with telemarketing in some people’s minds, especially given the negative associations with telemarketers these days.