I'd put canvassing and telemarkting in a different place than spamming. In both, a live,human person has to make the "intrusion" in your life. It is costly, painful and induces burn-out, except for a small group of thick-skinned (and I would argue often morally insensitive) individduals. With spam, "you" don't need to interact with your victims, and you can multiply many times over.
Like everthing, there are degrees of (de)gredation in all three of these marketing methods. On a warm, sunny afternoon, when the canvasser sees a real need (perhaps representing a contractor doing work immediately near your place, the canvassing isn't so bad; and an unsolicited phone call to a business (during business hours) promoting a service that the company can actually use is probably okay, especially if it routes to a well trained receptionist/screener..
I don't doubt that the canvassing/telemarketing and even spamming techniques work -- you can read other postings on this forum which advocate, and I've spent some time and money investigating first-hand how to canvass effectively -- and I occasionally send out "mass" emails (but not to complete strangers.
But I still think you are way ahead of the game if you can create an environment where your marketing makes you welcome in people's homes and places of business, where your call, if it is made, is answered with excitement rather than dread.
Can this be done? Community involvement and contribution, article writing, speaches, great websites with effective (not tricky)search engine optimization, they all work.
I hate canvassing, still, but I accept that i some cases, especially if you need to generate cash quickly, it can be effective, so I won't diss it as a marketing method. Just don't knock on my door if you are a canvasser. I'll slam it in your face. (And I'm not proud of my bad manners here.)