Topic: Other

Clarification Of Ftc/ Telemarking Rules.

Posted by markblock on 25 Points
I read your article regarding this, but I just want to be very specific about my situation, and marketing practices, to make sure I'm clear about how the rules apply to me.

I'm a Life and Health Insurance agent, who has had success with telemarketing cold calling to prospect for business. First of all it's just me, no telemarketing organization. I typicality target small bushiness, and contractors, where the owner/operator is likely to pick up the phone themselves. Being that I'm trying to interest them in a Life or Health Insurance policy for their personal use, I believe this would be considered a consumer product, as it's not something their business needs. That said, I only solicit with the owner of the business, never an em;employee. I ask point blank if they would be interested in a quote on a policy. If not, end of story. If yes I'll gather some basic info and email address, and sent the quote later. Is this B2B? I'm thinking it's not, but rather B2C, and so not under the safe harbor of the former.

Also a concern is many small business have mixed use phone no.s, and sometimes use a personal cell no.s as business line. That cell may well be registered on the DNC list, further complicating the legality of my cold call.

Lastly, for efficiency sake, I like to use Auto-Dialers. I read what you said - Bozo no no for use on cell phones, but I actually called the FTC last week and spoke with someone about this, and he said he could not find any information pertaining to forbidding the the use of auto-dialers.

I'm trying to see if my marketing approach is sustainable, and legally sound.
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  • Posted by Mkter on Accepted
    I appreciate your concern and question. However, I think there are a few things to
    address and clarify:
    Laws under FTC and, let’s not forget CAN-SPAM, GDPR (EU countries), CCPA are also real laws and in effect.
    When you call someone cold – whether you or a team making these calls you are
    Required to follow the FTC guidelines in how you ‘cold call’ a person and or business. At the end of the day, the call is still a ‘cold call’. The recipient doesn’t know what the call is about until you introduce yourself and state service to see if they are interested in then proceed so it’s not about Business to Business ( B2B) or direct to consumer/business to consumer (B2C) it’s a cold call if they never met you before or agreed to a call …
    If upon your salutation “Hi, my name is… “ and the other party shouts (which I’m sure has happened) please take me off your calling list and add me to - DNC (do not call list) You must comply or you put your business, brand in jeopardy…
    Cell number may be Business number – That’s the digital world / VOIP we are operating in ‘today’.
    An org. does not have the option to say “this number is okay to call but don’t call my cell…” a telephone number listed for an org. is a telephone contact number at the end of the day. In many instances, the numbers are scraped from a business listing as ‘contact number’ i.e. D&B, State business licensing, Experian Bus listings, business registration – I think you get the gist…

    Email – speaking to owner assuming you’re selling a variety of health insurance plans for the “organization’s employees” i.e. selling (B2B). If you are selling to just “business owner individually” – that can be referred to as B2C. However, still a ‘cold call’.
    You say – it’s not for the business but for an (individual) – If you are not given clear permission or obtain via a lead form/contact form that explicitly states the recipient or interested party “wants to receive marketing calls, promotions, advertising via email… or a call”.
    You Do Not Have the Right or explicit permission to email or call (for that matter) that person onward. Without permission you are violating the laws I’ve listed above; CAN-SPAM, GDPR, CCPA etc. How? Simply placing a complaint of your name, brand, business name… to the FTC – if enough of complaints your business is liable to get fined, asked to respond on how your marketing is done, how are you gaining consent, where are you storing those i.e. receipt of contact forms, how long etc., type of personal data etc. etc. Today – the digital world one can simply use spam call apps or just block your number.
    Auto-Dialers – Can be tricky it’s all about volume to hit the 10 contact numbers that say Yes! I am going to guess you’re purchasing call lists… I have to believe with such laws in place list mills sell a combination of ‘valid interest lists’ mixed with other variables of tel is of a specific region or may have had similar interest and they are included to increase the volume of purchase i.e. 10K vs. 1k of numbers – I hope that makes sense?

    I don’t want to scare you – simply stating facts….

    I would offer to you - accept the grim reality of having to bat a thousand efforts to gain the prospective 8-10 who say ‘ Yes, please send me some info on that and yes send me the link to add my contact details so we can stay in touch…’ i.e. suggesting you gain explicit consent to now email them to ultimately convert them to a viable prospective lead or buyer… and take your efforts through email marketing which is a bit more receptive these days (once a person consents) to most as it is the main way folk communicate now and if done right, you’ll know who might be interested, who read your email, who acted on your call to action (drive to a web page to learn more, etc.)…
    And at least this approach will start you toward more valuable leads i.e. those who complete the lead contact form w/ name, email and tel so you can start selling what you have to offer... and begin with info that they can read at their leisure vs feeling compelled to have a 5min. (may seem long for some) on what might work for their insurance needs etc.

    Hopefully, others can lend further insight here so you can get a holistic approach to these types of efforts as we know them in digital marketing…
  • Posted by Shelley Ryan on Moderator
    Hi Everyone,

    I am closing this question since there hasn't been much recent activity.

    Thanks for participating!


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