(I know you just want to see what the “trick” is but you’ll have to oblige me for a few paragraphs before we get there.)
When you look at marketing tactics and the way they evolve over time, traditionally there are two different groups of people who determine when a tactic is no longer viable:
The vast, vast majority of the time the market are the ones who change fastest. People’s preferences are notoriously fickle, so marketers have to continually be on their toes as to when their current strategies begin to lose their effectiveness. Failing to adjust to these trends will cause an organization to get very inefficient with dollars, ultimately costing people their jobs and perhaps the company’s future.
Occasionally, the market gets a bit jumbled and it doesn’t properly act to punish marketers who use unwieldy tactics. In cases like this (and they are rare) the government can step in to issue a mandate that certain ways of reaching potential customers is not ok. CAN-SPAM and TCPA may be some acronyms that you’ve heard in this vein.
Today, unfortunately, we’ve reached a time where neither of these approaches work as it pertains to unwanted phone calls. Smart phones continue to become more and more indispensable as a "life tool," so the market can’t get away from having the calls bother them all day. And the U.S. Federal Government is currently passing laws at an outrageously low rate.
So a third party has come around to play a role in killing cold calls, technology.
As each unique piece of hardware we use does more and more stuff (read: my smartphone does everything…), tech companies are being pressured more and more to make sure that uninvited parties don’t get to take part in the experience. In this case, if your iPhone is completely overrun with unwanted phone calls you’ll either:
A) Use your phone less altogether (bad for Apple)
B) Explore other phone options (bad for Apple)
Now that these things are bad for the technology companies as well as the consumers, they have to help with the solution. Over the course of the last six months, Google has rolled out a super user-friendly way to tell them that it’s an unwanted call.
With the quick click of a button, I can tell my phone maker that that I don’t want that number to call me anymore and that it’s likely that that number is used to call other people who probably don’t want the calls either.
Google can then build a large database of all the phone numbers that are bad, thus eliminating the nuisance for their customers. I started avidly blocking and reporting SPAM on numbers a few months ago and now they leave me alone.
The magic you’re looking for is in making sure that the same SPAM number doesn’t call you twice as well as helping Google identify the perpetrators. Six months in, I’ve eradicated my SPAM call issue.
Technology companies are becoming more and more excited about stepping in where governments fail (which is quite interesting given the brewing anti-trust cases that are being built against them). In the short to medium term, consumers can expect to see an ally in the fight against bad marketers.
In the long term, of course, you can expect some government intervention as well as the bad marketers finding a way to get to consumers a different way. But in the meantime, I enjoy being left alone.
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