Escaping spam marketing

Daily we are bombarded with in-your-face marketing and advertising from unsolicited calls from telemarketers to pop-up advertising and people adding us to Whatsapp and Facebook groups.

I read on that South Africa has the fifth highest number of spam calls monthly in the world. The article says “only 1% of our intrusive calls are marked as scam calls. 39% of them come from telemarketing, 24% financial and 13% from insurance companies. Debt collectors, surprisingly, only made up 3%”.

I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired of it!

I have been polite to sales people calling me after hours, requesting that they remove me from their database (which doesn’t happen) and I have had my share of rants at these poor souls who are only doing their job.

Earlier this year my frustration reached a peak when my father passed away. On the day of his funeral I received a sales call from a well-known insurance company, when I realised the nature of the call I cut it off.

Five minutes later another sales person from the same company was on the line reciting the same sales pitch. I lost it completely! I’m sure that poor sales person must still be undergoing therapy for what I unleashed on her.

Since that day I decided that I’m having it my way (pun intended). I have started a conscious audit of the communication I receive. I no longer just accept it by ignoring/ deleting spam and being polite/ranting to telemarketers.

Here are my 5 tips on what you can do to escape the spam:

  1. Register on the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa (DMASA) National Opt Out Database This only works for members of DMASA and you have to re-register every year.
  2. Install Truecaller on your mobile phone to identify and block spam calls. Visit the website for more information or download the app from the google play store for android at or for iphone from the app store
  3. When friends, family or business associates add you to Whatsapp groups without requesting your permission it is not rude to leave the group. I do, however, suggest that you send them a polite message as well.
  4. Unfortunately Facebook allows your friends to add you to groups so watch for this and leave the group if it is not relevant information you are interested in. You can set your privacy settings so that friends can’t post directly onto your timeline and you can decide to allow to add to timeline or not.
  5. My final tip is simple because none of the other tips really work – don’t give out your contact information!


We have a right to OPT OUT. The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) 68 of 2008 says it is illegal for companies to make and send unsolicited marketing calls and messages to consumers who have “opted out”.

The new Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), which will hopefully come into effect by the end of 2018, will further clarify the law on direct marketing do’s and don’ts.

Marketers will be required to offer an “opt out” for existing clients and new clients will be able to give consent or deny consent for their contact information to be used for direct marketing. Implementation of this act cannot come quick enough!

As a marketing manager, I’m all for marketing and advertising that offers me valuable information or entertains me, but please get it right.

Great marketing will often have me buying something I don’t need, but poor marketing will ensure that as much as I want or need a product, I will not buy it on principle.

I hope you enjoy our blogs and don’t “opt out”!

By Donné Gierke