BPA Worldwide serves as a valued source in the publishing industry, offering key insight into advertising opportunities and verifying the reach a publication has in the market. As such, the organization provides specific guidelines to follow to ensure proper processes are being followed, telemarketing standards are in place and that data collected is valid and proven.
The Rule Change
The organization’s board of directors made a decision in May 2013 that affected the telemarketing industry. When trying to contact a targeted individual (direct request) who was unavailable, the person on the line would suffice as long as they qualified as a personal assistant. Telemarketers were to go through a specific process to verify that the person was qualified. This rule change wasn’t exactly popular with all individuals in the industry and prompted an amendment by the BPA board.
Direct requests, as per the amendment, are now defined by the numbers called, not the person’s job title or their professional relationship with the targeted individual. For instance, the targeted subscriber can ask that their own subscription and one additional co-worker be handled through one call. There is a difference in direct request and company request. The direct request would concern the target subscriber and one other co-worker, whereas a company request concerns the target subscriber and two or more co-workers in one call.
The amended definition of Direct Request to include requests from the target recipient, and requests from one co-worker for another co-worker, and Company Request to include one person requesting for two or more recipients (other than themselves) ensures the subscriber acquisition and renewal process becomes more efficient.
This part of the amendment seemed a little confusing to BlueValley and thought it may also be for clients. So, we sought expert insight from BPA. The following is from that dialogue:
Q – If I collect 3 more names, are all 3 names considered a company request?
A – When you speak to the subscriber and they provide one additional name (one only) then both are direct requests. If the subscriber provides 2 or more additional names, then the other (2 or more) additional names are considered company request while the subscriber remains himself a direct request.
Q – When we are talking to someone other than the subscriber, we understand that the subscriber will be consider a direct request and any Pass-A-Long Names will be consider company request, or if we qualify more than one person from someone other than the subscriber, are all of these names are company request (including the subscriber)?
A – It depends on the number of names collected. If you are talking to a co-worker (someone other than the subscriber) then the subscriber will be a direct request if the co-worker stops there. Once the co-worker provides 2 or more names, then they will all be company requests, even the subscriber name.
The question posed now is whether or not the BPA board’s amendment does anything to ease the concerns of those who had a bad reaction to the original May 2012 rule change? Blue Valley Telemarketing asked its customers and colleagues for their thoughts.
Barry Green from CircExperts said he believes it is “absolutely a step in the right direction.” Green said he was happy to see that the amendment covers the telecommunication request from a co-worker as well as the written and electronic requests.
“There are innumerable times that an email is sent that requests a change/renewal etc., from a co-worker as well as incoming phone call and notes sent,” Green said. “Many times with a label from a copy of the issue included, and this change makes that considered to be a direct request.”
Green added that he believes the amendment should help publishers obtain a higher percentage of conversions and better utilize the soliciting requesters’ time.
Irene Fincher from 1105 Media said she agrees with the rule change overall, though she said she still has an issue with the fact that having more than one additional name is still considered a company request.
“They should all be direct request,” she said.
Debbie Bouley from PennWell said she hopes the rule change will allow her company to take on additional subscribers with fewer calls “It might help to cut down on the costs if I can get two on the same call,” she said.
Is the rule change and amendment hurting the credibility of BPA? This is a question posed by Nick Cavnar, consultant and industry expert who said that in a nutshell, “BPA has just gone around the bend on telemarketing. I don’t particularly object to the new rule, but it doesn’t make any real sense to me. They just keep flip-flopping, and it’s really undercutting their credibility.”
Bruce Sprague, consultant and industry expert believes the opinions that matters most are those of advertising professionals because they are the people responsible for building the audience.
“If they believe this revision does not dilute/negatively impact the quality of the circulation,” he said, “then I’m okay moving forward with it.” However, Sprague said that in his industry, there weren’t many calls lost because the person was not able to request the magazine for the label person based on the subjective rules.
Blue Valley Telemarketing continues to run testing regarding the BPA rule change and how it affects its customers. Once more information comes to light, Blue Valley will publish an article outlining those results. Until then, feel free to offer us your feedback and how the rule change affects the way business is carried out on a daily basis.