Permission Marketing: Give Consumers What They Really Want

What is Permission Marketing?

Nowadays, consumers come into contact with at least 10,000 different forms of advertisement on a daily basis. Marketers face the challenge of breaking through this information overload. An effective way to do so is by creating strong customer relations through permission marketing.

Permission marketing is a phrase coined by author Seth Godin.  He defines it as “the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal, and relevant messages to people who want to get them.” Companies often advertise as if they have the right to promote their products/services. The irrelevant information shared by those companies tends to decrease the effectiveness of the advertisement.

In 1998,  William C. Taylor, founder of the business magazine, “The Fast Company,” shared: “Seth Godin and his colleagues are working to persuade some of the most powerful companies in the world to reinvent how they relate to their customers. His argument is as stark as it is radical: Advertising just doesn’t work as well as it used to — in part because there’s so much of it, in part because people have learned to ignore it, in part because the rise of the Net means that companies can go beyond it.” 

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The dangers of interruption marketing shown through 2012 statistics.

Downside of Traditional Marketing

William C. Taylor’s statement maintains an accurate impression of traditional advertising. According to a study conducted in 2012, 91% of people say that ads are more intrusive today than they were two to three years ago, and 87% believe that there are more ads today than there were two to three years ago. It is for these reasons that traditional interruption marketing has become increasingly less efficient. Interruption marketing includes pop-ups, television commercials, spam e-mail, and direct mail to name a few.  84% of consumers agree with the statement that obnoxious and intrusive ads give them a poor opinion of the advertised brand

Consumers no longer respond well to interruption marketing because the constant push of advertisement has become a nuisance and disruption. If the ad does not include information that relates to an individual, they will lack interest in it. According to Seth Godin, an effective marketing campaign must contain a message that consumers are anticipating to hear while remaining personal and relevant to the customer.  Interruption marketing does not adhere to any elements of Godin’s effective marketing campaign.

Think about advertisements when watching a movie on television.  Viewers are usually irritated by the commercial interruptions. They often ignore the ads or even purchase the film for a cost through a streaming platform.

Permission Marketing
Consumers have had enough of the roar of interruption marketing.

Example: Permission Marketing via E-mail

If one were to take a single lesson from Seth Godin, it should be that companies must not promote their services in an intrusive manner. It is best for a brand’s excellence to speak for itself through the company’s products/services and reputation. A company should provide potential customers with information that they want to know rather than demonstrating annoying advertisements. One way that this could be achieved is through email subscriptions.

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Permission marketing through email subscriptions at Visionary Marketing.

Email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, and 77% of people prefer to get permission-based promotional messages via email. This data reinforces the idea that strategic email marketing is a useful advertising tool. The above subscription request is an excellent example of a way to successfully implement permission marketing. A person who voluntarily visits a webpage has the option to choose to receive additional information from the company. The information is not pure advertisement and marketing, but rather a useful newsletter with tips that are beneficial, anticipated, relevant, and personal to subscribers. With this kind of information, consumers are gaining a greater understanding and loyalty toward the company, which will nourish a relationship between the two parties. According to Godin, the best way to determine whether a permission marketing email promotion is successful is if subscribers are concerned when they do not receive their weekly newsletter.

The information is not pure advertisement and marketing, but rather a useful newsletter with tips that are beneficial, anticipated, relevant, and personal to subscribers. With this kind of information, consumers are gaining a greater understanding and loyalty toward the company, which will nourish a relationship between the two parties. According to Godin, the best way to determine whether a permission marketing email promotion is successful is if subscribers are concerned when they do not receive their weekly newsletter.

Read more about Seth Godin and permission marketing in his book: Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers and Friends Into Customers

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Seth Godin’s book on the topic of permission marketing.

Permission marketing was a term coined over a decade ago.  However, it is becoming more relevant and necessary than ever before. Advertisements are on constant display, and companies are struggling to stand out from their competitors. Relevance, anticipation, and personal content is a must to build a beneficial relationship with consumers. Permission marketing can aid in achieving this favorable relationship.

Diana Mylonas

Diana Mylonas

Junior Consultant at Visionary Marketing
Third year communcation and business student at Villanova University; Currently studying abroad in Paris, France.
Diana Mylonas

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