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Why Email Blasting and Cold Calling No Longer Work as Well

They say all (good) things must come to an end.  Well, it seems as if that time has come for outbound marketing as the era of interruptive and impersonal marketing tactics is gradually fading away, making room for more effective and engaging strategies.

Gone are the days of simply bombarding inboxes with generic messages or surprising potential customers with unexpected phone calls. Today's consumers are empowered, tech-savvy, and armed with tools to filter out unwanted noise.

Let’s take a closer look at why this strategy is fading away.

But first….

What’s a Good Outbound Marketing Definition?

Outbound marketing refers to a traditional marketing approach where businesses proactively reach out to potential customers to promote their products or services.  It involves initiating direct communication and distributing promotional messages through various channels to generate leads and create brand awareness.

Outbound marketing is a “push” technique, as it revolves around pushing out ads and messages;

whereas inbound marketing is a “pull” technique, as it revolves around attempting to pull customers in through curiosity and engagement

While outbound marketing has been a popular approach for decades, the rise of inbound marketing techniques and digital advertising has led to a shift in marketing strategies.

Here are two popular outbound techniques heading for an early retirement….

Email Blasting

What is it?

Also known as bulk email marketing, it refers to the practice of sending a large volume of email messages to a vast number of recipients simultaneously.

It’s a form of outbound marketing where businesses or marketers aim to reach a wide audience with their promotional messages, offers, or announcements.

Why it No Longer Works as Well

Increased Competition and Inbox Clutter

As more businesses and marketers engage in email blasting, inboxes become inundated with promotional emails.  This leads to increased competition for attention and makes it harder for individual messages to stand out.  

Bottom line:  Recipients tend to ignore or delete emails that they perceive as generic or irrelevant, making it difficult for email blasts to stand out.

Spam filters and Deliverability Issues

Email service providers have become more sophisticated in filtering out spam and unwanted messages. As a result, legitimate email blasts may be mistaken as spam and end up in recipients' spam folders, reducing the chances of them being seen or opened.

Additionally, regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the CAN-SPAM Act have imposed strict guidelines on sending commercial emails, making it more challenging to reach the inbox of recipients.

Decreased Engagement and Response Rates

Due to the overwhelming volume of promotional emails, recipients have become more selective in what they choose to open and engage with. As a result, the open rates, click-through rates, and response rates for email blasting have declined over time.

Lack of Personalization and Relevance

Email blasting often lacks personalization and customization for individual recipients. In today's era of personalized marketing, customers expect relevant and tailored content. Generic, one-size-fits-all email blasts may fail to resonate with recipients and result in lower engagement.

Stricter Data Protection Regulations and Permission-Based Marketing

With the implementation of data protection regulations, businesses must obtain explicit consent from recipients before sending them promotional emails. This has made it more challenging to build large email lists for blasting purposes.

In addition, consumers are increasingly seeking more control over the emails they receive. They prefer opt-in approaches where they voluntarily subscribe to newsletters or promotional emails from brands they are interested in. Email blasting, on the other hand, typically involves sending emails to purchased or acquired lists, which can lead to lower engagement and higher unsubscribe rates.

Rise of Alternative Communication Channels

With the advent of social media, messaging apps, and other digital platforms, consumers have more diverse and interactive ways to engage with brands. Traditional email blasting may not be as effective in capturing their attention or fostering meaningful connections compared to newer, more personalized communication channels.

Cold Call Marketing

What is it?

If you’ve ever answered your phone, heard a delay, and then had someone mispronounce your name, then you’re familiar with cold calling

It’s a traditional outbound marketing technique where sales representatives or telemarketers make unsolicited phone calls to potential customers who have not expressed prior interest in the product or service being offered. The purpose of cold calling is to initiate contact, pitch the offering, and potentially generate sales or appointments.

Why it No Longer Works as Well

Declining Response Rates

With advancements in technology, people have become more guarded against unsolicited calls. Many individuals use caller ID, spam filters, or even do-not-call lists to avoid unwanted interruptions. As a result, the response rates to cold calls have significantly decreased.

Changing Consumer Behavior

Consumers now have access to extensive information and resources online. They prefer to research products or services on their own terms, rather than being interrupted by a sales call. They tend to rely more on self-education, online reviews, and recommendations from peers, making cold calling less influential in the decision-making process.

Preference for Digital Communication

Many individuals now prefer digital communication channels such as email, messaging apps, or social media for their convenience and flexibility. Cold calling may be perceived as intrusive or time-consuming compared to these alternative methods of communication.

Rise of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing strategies, such as content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing, have gained popularity. These approaches focus on attracting potential customers through valuable content and building relationships, rather than interrupting them with unsolicited calls. Inbound marketing has proven to be more effective in capturing leads and nurturing them through the buyer's journey.

Personalization and Targeted Marketing

Consumers now expect personalized experiences and relevant offers. Cold calling often lacks the necessary personalization, as it typically involves a scripted approach where sales representatives deliver the same message to multiple prospects. In an era of personalized marketing, this one-size-fits-all approach can feel impersonal and fail to resonate with potential customers.

In contrast, targeted marketing tactics, such as email marketing or social media advertising, allow for more precise segmentation and customization, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.

Consumer Skepticism


Many consumers are wary of unsolicited sales calls and may view them as intrusive or bothersome. This skepticism can lead to a lack of trust in the information provided during the call and a lower likelihood of converting a prospect into a customer.

Compliance with Regulations

Cold calling is subject to various regulations, including "do not call" lists and specific calling hours. Adhering to these regulations can make it more difficult for sales representatives to reach potential customers at a convenient time, limiting the effectiveness of cold calling as a lead generation method.

Summing it Up

As technology and consumer behavior continue to evolve, it’s crucial for businesses to adapt and embrace more innovative and customer-centric approaches to reach their target audience.

Email blasting, once hailed as a cost-effective and efficient way to reach a wide audience, has now become synonymous with spam and inbox clutter. Similarly, cold calling, which used to be a common tactic for generating leads and driving sales, has become a frustrating and intrusive experience for both businesses and consumers. 

Instead of relying on outdated methods, businesses should focus on building authentic relationships with their target audience by utilizing modern marketing strategies. Content marketing, social media engagement, search engine optimization, and personalized email campaigns are just a few examples of effective approaches that can foster meaningful connections with potential customers.

Want to learn what the future of growth marketing looks like?

If you’re not using a full-funnel inbound strategy, you’re doing it wrong

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