The term guilt by association really goes well with B2B telemarketing. Why? Because no matter how different lead generation is from regular consumer marketing, people still think you’re guilty all because you’re using a phone to ‘advertise’ something.
Then again, is telemarketing the only industry where businesses are tripped with this kind of guilt? What about insurance companies? Scandal and fraud make them popular media stereotypes. Janitorial services? Yeah, good luck cleaning up associations with blue-collar labor and illegal immigrants.
It’s sad. It’s reality.
You might as well do something about it eh?
Believe it or not, there are ways to utilize stereotypes for the good of marketing and branding. This is good if you think that the negativity that mires your respective industry also mires the good that industry actually serves. Insurance can be handy in emergencies in spite of its complications. Janitorial services play an unsung role in keeping work environments sanitized and healthy. You need to keep their eyes more on your unique business value and less on your industry:
- Arm with facts – If you’re going to defend a particular industry practice, then you need to arm yourself with the facts. And before you arm with those facts, check the sources twice and thrice. Sometimes even when you state something as true, it loses its validity when your source has damaged its credibility by stating too many other false claims.
- Prove the facts yourself – Sometimes a live demonstration or testimony of your services can be more convincing than hunting for credible sources. If your workforce comprises of a stereotyped demographic, then why not invite them to tell them like it is? Think Scared Straight but without the scaring and more on just storytelling.
- Take part in industry solutions – It’s not like you’re really alone in struggling with the dark side of your industry. If you’ve come across others who think you all need to get the fact straights, then be another part of the solution. Attend their events and invite them to yours. Be your own activist in rooting out the good from the bad.
The biggest mistake you make when addressing skeptics and industry critics is chastising them for buying into stereotypes. Stereotypes are, in many cases, self-perpetuating. It’s not just their perception creating, it’s whatever you do in response or how your business reacts that adds more fuel to the fire. Rather than accuse them of buying into a stereotype, distance yourself from it or change it so you won’t keep feeling guilty by association.