Permission marketing is a phrase created by Seth Godin in the mid nineties to capture the change in approach needed to succeed with increasingly savvy and time-pressurised customers and consumers in the Internet age.
Permission marketing contrasts with interruption marketing.
Interruption marketing starts with the assumption that customers are busy going about their business - doing what they want - so if you want to succeed as a marketer, you need to interrupt them and get them to give you their attention.
It's taught in all the marketing classes as Attention is the first stage in both AIDA (attention, interest, desire and action) and ATR (attention, trial, re-purchase) used for high involvement (big) decisions and low involvement (impulse) buys.
In this blog I want to look at what permission really means from the customer/consumer perspective because the original concept of permission marketing has been corrupted by interruption marketers.
The ideas come from another Seth Godin book, "Meatball Sundae" which looks at how new marketing contrasts with the old style, traditional marketing.
Godin has identified five key factors in permission marketing...as understood by the customer:
- People don't give permission to help you, the marketer, they do it to help themselves learn more or keep up-to-date. The moment your messages stop being wanted and relevant, you are toast.
- Permission can't be transferred. Stop this nonsense of buying opt-in email lists and reassuring yourself that you are not a spammer. My view is that if someone didn't opt in to your list for that particular type of information, it is spam.
- People opt-in don't care about you. Attention needs to be continually earned.
- Privacy policies and terms don't matter. You are making a promise to give me relevant messages...and only relevant messages. Break that promise and your messages will be ignored and permission taken away.
- Consumers expect to be respected. They don't need you.
Permission is most easily seen in email marketing but also applies to direct mail and telephone marketing.
Keep in touch yes, but keep asking yourself how the customer or prospective customer benefits from each contact.
It amazes me how many email marketers effectively train me to ignore their emails through too many messages, too many messages that are not relevant to me and too many messages that are very commercial.
It goes back to old school marketing and the classic question "What's in it for me?"
While permission marketing has permission, at its centre it is still an interruption. This is why the internet and its information on demand is so powerful.
Look out for the review of Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin on my Business Books Blog.