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06 October 2007

Seth Godin - Permission Marketing - 4 Stars

I was in a lovely trattoria in Florence, Italy last Saturday.

It was quite busy when we sat down and it was easy to talk but as the empty tables filled up and as the wine flowed, the background noise became louder.

We had no choice. Where we were talking before, we were now having to speak much louder and we played our role in making the room louder.

This is one of the key messages that Seth Godin send out in the early pages of his book "Permission Marketing".

We are all bombarded with thousands of advertising messages each day.

We only have one way to react to maintain our sanity - to develop a stronger screening mechanism so that the more messages we see, the more we don't even have to even think about to ignore. We literally just don't see them.

We don't have a choice. We just don't have the time to see, read and consider all these adverts.

But this only forces marketers to develop more extreme methods to try to capture our attention. Effectively, just as in the Italian restaurant, they have to shout louder and louder, just to be heard.

This traditional advertising approach is what Seth Godin calls Interruption Marketing.

Its first purpose is to interrupt the our thoughts about our problems, our own agenda and instead focus on the advertiser and their agenda.

Isn't that interesting?

The first task of a marketing communication (and remember marketing is supposed to be about putting the customer and their needs and wants first) is to interrupt our thoughts when we don't want to be interrupted.

You don't usually buy a magazine for the adverts.

You don't want those spam emails cluttering up your Inbox.

You don't want the phone to ring with a telemarketing call to sell you double glazing or investments when you have just sat down for dinner.

You don't want interruption marketing and because you don't it has become increasingly expensive to generate leads through traditional marketing approaches. Interruption Marketing is the enemy of anybody trying to do more with that most precious of resources - your time.

Seth Godin offers an alternative and it's called Permission Marketing.

Instead of shouting to interrupt and gain attention, imagine having customers and prospects who want to pay attention to your promotional messages because they have given you permission to send them.

You get their permission by offering something of value to start the relationship building and you continue to provide a relationship that they find beneficial. People are still influenced by the classic question "What's in it for me?"

According to Seth Godin, permission marketing is anticipated (people look forward to hearing from you), personal and relevant.

The crazy thing is that this isn't a new idea but almost all marketing has followed the interruption path.

The book uses the example of trying to get married.

Imagine getting all dressed up and heading to the nearest singles bar, tapping the first people you see that you like on their shoulder and immediately proposing. The "No" is obvious. That is what interruption marketing is effectively doing.

Permission marketing by contrast is old fashioned dating. It builds the relationship slowly over time so that when you do ask, the chances of hearing a "Yes" are much higher.

This book is a very thought-provoking read about existing marketing practises.

It was written in 1997 when the Internet represented the bright future and it is interesting to see how many predictions have come true.

If you would like to read the book you can buy it from Amazon UK or USA.

Have you read this book? If so, I'd love to hear your opinion of "Permission Marketing" by Seth Godin.

To Your Success

Your Profit Coach

Paul Simister

Related postings: Book Reviews, Marketing

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