Seth Godin had it right with his underrated 1999 book Permission Marketing… people will let you contact them through any barrier as long as they want you to do so.  Take for example two things that happened to me recently:

- I received my fourth call in the last 10 days from "Mobile Solution" (the douchebags at phone number 978-570-2394) with a recorded offer for satellite TV.  I want satellite TV about as much as this guy wanted it… but perhaps what is worse is that I've asked these folks several times to take me off their call list.
- I got a Tweet from 'Peldi' Guilizzoni, the founder of Balsamiq, in response to my Tweet about how I was unhappy with the lack of options I had for building a prototype of a user interface.

One made my blood boil and resulted in quite the interaction with an unsuspecting telemarketer.  I may just never consider a satellite TV ever again.  The other made me quite the advocate of Balsamiq… so much so I alerted a half dozen folks at my former employer to the novelty of the technology.

These two extreme examples are a reminder that context is critical to effectively communicating with a customer base.  People are far more receptive to marketing when it is helpful and when the marketing is done in context of a real need.

The real lesson here — focus on the customer need, and effective tactics will follow.  Making something happen at all costs is a good way to kill the golden goose.

UPDATE: I was forwarded a link that sent me to this handy tool to use to battle telemarketers.  Good stuff.