Don't let your old 800 number turn into an 'adult' chat line

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When your company 'turns in' a toll-free 800 number, do you know what happens to it?

Would it concern you from a branding point of view if those numbers (likely still associated with your company in old printed collateral) became adult entertainment lines?

Art Yonemoto says many have. A Philadelphia-based company called PrimeTel has been buying up 'used' 800 numbers for 16 years, according to Yonemoto, re-issuing many of them for adult entertainment. A 2011 report by The New York Daily News found that PrimeTel "had commandeered nearly a quarter of all 1-800 numbers in the US and Canada," including several associated with big family-friendly brands (think 800-COMPANY.)

Instead of letting such a fate befall you, Yonemoto offers several recommendations for putting old toll-free numbers to new use:

- Use them for marketing purposes to help measure the effectiveness of offline channels. For the same promotion, assign one 800 number to print ads and a different one to web ads. (This could be a big help to marketing departments who say they are struggling to get useful data in the new  'omnichannel' marketing era.) 

- In companies using a BYOD mobile phone policy, each salesperson could be assigned his or her own 800 number. That way, when the salesperson leaves the company, the customers can still reach your company via the number they are accustomed to calling.

For more:
- read Yonemoto's article

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