First let’s clarify what permission marketing is not.
It’s not those annoying commercials you endure between your favorite TV show. It’s not the spam in your inbox and it’s not those annoying telemarketers. Those are all examples of interruption marketing aka old marketing.
Permission Marketing Defined
Seth Godin, who wrote an entire book on permission marketing, offers us the following definition:
Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.
It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.
Pay attention is a key phrase here, because permission marketers understand that when someone chooses to pay attention they are actually paying you with something precious. And there’s no way they can get their attention back if they change their mind. Attention becomes an important asset, something to be valued, not wasted.
Permission Marketing is a Privilege
Did you hear that? Permission marketing is the privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them. This is new marketing. Power has shifted away from big ad agencies into the hands of the consumers. I don’t care if you have a multi-billion dollar marketing budget – if you interrupt me and don’t treat me with respect I now have the power to tune you out of my world.
Consumers like MP3s better than radio because they no longer have to listen to commercials. Same reason TVO is so popular. One reason Gmail is great is because it does a great job of filtering spam.
Consumers are sending a powerful message to advertisers, “Don’t interrupt my life with stuff I don’t care about!”
Some companies are listening and adjusting how they market. Others are not and are banking on the hope that they can spend more to get more.
You Have a Choice
As a business owner you have a choice. You can continue to interrupt people with annoying marketing messages or you can learn the art and science behind permission marketing. You can do this by educating yourself or hiring someone who has experience in this realm.
If you want to educate yourself I would suggest reading some of Seth Godin’s material. His blog and books are packed full of useful and innovative ideas to get you thinking outside the box (in fact his most recent book is called Poke the Box).
A great example of permission marketing would be opt-in email newsletters. You enter your email address and ask the company to email you (remember spam is when they do it without your consent). This is challenging for companies because they must give customers a reason to opt-in. Hey, nobody said this would be easy.
Imagine if your customers wanted to hear from you? What would you tell them? How could you create a win-win for your company and your customer?