Missed Call Marketing : The Beginner’s Guide (& Examples)

November 20, 2019

Unlike call center campaigns, missed call marketing campaigns were born out a unique problem that Indians faced – affordable handsets but pocket pinching talk rates.

Missed calls started as a way for people to communicate with each other. A few years ago, “giving a missed call” was acceptable to convey pre-agreed things – I’ve reached home, you can pick me up now, I’m going to sleep, it’s time to wake up, a reminder to buy groceries. At its peak, the sophistication of missed calls beats the morse code, hands down. Two rings for yes, one ring for no, three rings for whatever else you’d like it to be (as long as the other person knows the code).

From an acceptable method for people to communicate with each other, it became a way for brands to get people to interact with them. If you think about it, it’s an ingenious way for brands to know exactly what is happening with their target market. 

Here are different ways brands use missed malls for their business

1. Deliver information updates

Missed call marketing campaigns are one of the easiest ways to give your customers updates. Missed call to a virtual phone number in India is usually followed by an SMS alert with the information requested.

Examples –


One industry that has done this perfectly is banking. Missed call services are now the best way to find out details like account balance, mini statement of your account etc.

E – commerce

Another fine example of missed call marketing is seen in E-commerce companies that have missed call numbers that allow the customers to find out the status of their delivery.

2. Customer verification 

While OTP is the most common method employed for customer verification, missed call alert is a better alternative.

When a customer signs up for an Exotel account, we ask them to verify their phone number by giving a missed to a mobile number. This is an important step in our case because if the phone number is incorrect, the customer will be unable to use Exotel.

3. Subscribing/Unsubscribing a list 

It is important to ensure that customers are not spammed by you. If you’re unsure about the kind of updates a customer would like, you can ask them to opt-in or opt-out of your promotional campaign list using missed calls.

Example –

When you sign up for Exotel, by default, due to regulations, you will be unable to call DND numbers. But, what if your customers are on DND but you’d like to reach them anyway because they have given you permission to. We used a missed call to confirm this as well.

4. Lead generation 

This is one of the most useful ways for a brand to use missed call marketing campaigns. Many companies have built their entire business model using a simple missed call.

This works brilliantly, especially in the case of people who do not have access to the internet or any other forms of communication. A simple mobile phone is a primary way for them to reach out to people.

Here are a few examples from Exotel’s customers:


Agrostar is a mobile-commerce platform through which farmers can procure raw material by giving a simple missed call.

For a farmer, the easiest mode of communication is a phone call. Most of them have feature phones with no access to the internet. So, Agrostar capitalized on what was available to them – a missed call.

Farmers who want to procure raw materials can give Agrostar a missed call. Once a farmer gives a missed call, Agrostar’s executives speak to the farmer to understand what raw material they need and then arrange for the door delivery of these materials.

More than 7,00,000 farmers across Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan already benefited from their services since 2012.


Babajob is a platform that connects people to jobs they qualify for, irrespective of whether they are on or off the internet. These are the jobs that are usually informal ones. For example, the ones you would try to figure out through word of mouth – say, drivers, cooks, etc.

Their call to action for job seekers is very simple – Give a missed call to find a job.

When a job seeker gives a missed call, Babajob makes an automated IVR call to them to understand their skills and then gets back to them with a relevant job opportunity.

Click here to learn how Babajob uses missed calls to power their business.

5. Engagement and Voting

Missed call marketing campaigns are a good way to build non-intrusive engagement with customers. Media and TV shows have made the best use of this.

A lot of shows have used the missed call to vote mechanism to build engagement in a non-intrusive manner.

6. NGOs

Missed calls is an easy way for NGOs to garner support for their cause.

The #SteelFlyoverBeda campaign garnered the support of over 100,000 citizens in less than 3 days.

The campaign to mobilize the citizens of Bengaluru started with a missed call marketing campaign set up by Jhatkaa.org using Exotel’s platform on 21st Sept 2016. People could give a missed call to register their support. So far, they have managed to garner the support of nearly 140,000 people. More than 90% of these people have used the missed call number to express their support.

Examples – 

Indus Action used Exotel to educate parents about the RTE

Indus Action aims to help parents of children who are eligible for admission under the RTE act. However, most often, these parents are not aware of the process or their rights. By giving a missed call to the Indus Action’s number, the parents become a part of their outreach. They then educate these parents and help them through the admission process.
Read the complete story here.

Man ki Baat

This is one of the most successful campaigns nationally. For people who don’t have access to a radio or the internet, they can give a missed call to listen to the prime minister of the country talk. This is a powerful usage of a simple tool.

Missed Call do, Kahani suno

This a missed call marketing campaign we did with Pratham books, a not for profit organization whose aim is to put a book in every child’s hand. We wanted to give even those children who didn’t have access to books, a taste of listening to a story. Learn the results here.

6. Customer Feedback

It is important to complete the feedback loop with your customers. Missed call marketing campaigns are an easy way to do this.


Hi Robert, thank you for booking your appointment. Please give a missed call on +91-8088919888 to record your feedback. 

Practo does this really well. Every time you book a doctor’s appointment via their platform, they send you an SMS to gather feedback. When you give a missed call on the number mentioned, it gets recorded as your feedback for the doctor on their platform.

7. Application installs

Missed calls are also a good way to drive app downloads. When you’re doing offline advertisements, the call to action can be to give a missed call to a number to download the app. Once a person gives a missed call on the number, they will receive an SMS with the link to download the app. Thereby, it eliminates the extra step that the users need to do – search, look for the right app, etc.


It’s fascinating to see the different applications of missed calls across industries. I hope you were able to discover ways that you could implement in your business. I feel the best part about missed calls is the simplicity of the technology and affordability. It’s not limited to any type of company or size. Both small and large companies can effectively use missed call marketing. 

Looking to give it a try? Learn how Exotel can help you get started.


Gayatri Krishnamoorthy
Written By
Gayatri's fascination for all things digital led her to work at Google after a degree in physics. Now, many years later, she has dabbled in marketing, business development, account management, research, insights mining, social media management and whatnot! Right now, she's heading Inbound Marketing at Exotel and runs home at 5 to be with her son. She's also a wannabe food blogger and photographer.

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