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What's the Difference Between Calling an Existing Lead and Telemarketing

Maverick Steffen  -  1/10/2024

The FTC is suing Grand Canyon University for many things, including using illegal telemarketing practices.

The lawsuit accuses GCU of engaging in abusive telemarketing, including contacting individuals on the National Do Not Call Registry, a clear violation of federal rules​​.

GCU has vigorously denied these allegations.

In light of the recent FTC accusations against Grand Canyon University, it's crucial for marketing professionals to understand the distinct differences between contacting existing leads and telemarketing.

This issue is not just about legality; it's about respecting consumer rights and enhancing the reputation of your business.

An existing lead is someone who has shown interest in your product or service.

This could be through filling out a form on your website, subscribing to a newsletter, or even engaging with your content.

When you call an existing lead, you’re following up on this expressed interest. It's a targeted approach where the potential customer has already initiated a dialogue.

Telemarketing, by contrast, involves unsolicited calls to potential customers.

These individuals have not expressed direct interest in your product or service.

Telemarketing, by contrast, involves unsolicited calls to potential customers. These individuals have not expressed direct interest in your product or service.

Telemarketing is often perceived as intrusive because it reaches out to people without their prior consent or interest.

The Grand Canyon University Case: A Closer Look

The FTC’s accusation against Grand Canyon University, as discussed in my previous article, raises questions about the nature of their outreach programs.

Were they contacting individuals who had shown interest in their educational services, or were they reaching out unsolicited?

The distinction here is crucial. As marketers, we must tread carefully to ensure that our practices align with legal and ethical standards.

Why This Distinction Matters

    1. Legal Compliance: Telemarketing is heavily regulated. The Do Not Call Registry, for instance, is a clear boundary that businesses must respect. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines and legal battles, as seen in the Grand Canyon University case.
    2. Brand Reputation: Unsolicited calls can annoy potential customers, damaging your brand’s reputation. Conversely, contacting leads who have shown interest can enhance customer relations and foster trust.
    3. Efficiency and Effectiveness: Calling existing leads is generally more effective. These individuals have already shown interest, making them more likely to engage positively with your call.

Understanding the difference between contacting an existing lead and telemarketing is essential for all marketing professionals, especially in an era where consumer rights and data privacy are paramount.

As we examine the Grand Canyon University case, let’s use it as a learning opportunity to refine our marketing practices, ensuring they’re not only effective but also respectful and compliant.

To your success!


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