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Title: Permission Marketing

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Title

Permission Marketing

Category

Sales and marketing books

Authors

Seth Godin
Don Peppers

Publisher

Simon & Schuster

Release date

May 1999

ISBN

0684856360

Sales ranking

Week: 95 All time: 17

Reviews

April 19, 2000 55555 5
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Picture of Paul Meagher
Paul Meagher
Seth Godin is the Vice President of Direct Marketing at Yahoo, and before that founded the successful web startup Yoyodyne. In his recent book, Permission Marketing, he tells us what he has learned about 20th century marketing and how it is evolving as a result of media saturation. Media saturation is making traditional forms of marketing less effective. Seth refers to traditional marketing practices as Interruption Marketing and contrasts this with Permission Marketing. There is room for both forms of marketing in Godin's universe, but Seth exhorts most marketers to begin creating a permission-based marketing system for immediate and long term survival.

The alternative to a permission based marketing system is the current interruption based marketing system that consists of big budgets for wow advertising that is meant to capture your interest long enough to deliver simple branded messages. Interruption marketing is about being clever at getting attention. You get attention with a great ad campaign where consistent attention grabbing messages are repeated in various media. Marketing research has demonstrated that over time familiarity can build trust in a brand as the solution to a particular class of problems. Trust equals profitability. Relying on interruption marketing techniques to attain "brand trust" is very expensive but can and has been done.

TV, radio, and newspapers are required to create initial interest in your product and services. Godin argues that there is no getting around this cost of marketing. To build brand trust, however, you should try to use your interruption marketing to develop a permission based marketing system. In a permission based marketing system, the customer is asked for their permission to receive messages from the marketer. Often the marketer will offer an incentive that makes it worth the customers while to give their permission. The marketer will need to continue to offer incentives for the ongoing permission of the customer. In return, the marketer has permission to educate the client about their product or service and to build trust in their brand. This is most often done through email. In fact, Godin's book could be read as the authoritative guide to managing opt-in email lists for profitability. Saying that the book is about email is not to denigrate the scope of this book. Email is the internet for alot of people. Email is the killer app! Email marketing needs to be understood and mastered by anyone calling themselves a marketer. Godin's book has alot of good advice for marketers who would like to expand their marketing savvy into the domain of permission based marketing systems.

On the surface, Permission Marketing is mostly about opt-in email and how to manage it over time. I think that you will find, however, that it has alot to say about how any technology involving personalization should be managed over time. All such technologies are likely to require substantial amounts of permission before they can become effective. Personalization is about more than filling out a form with your name, address and phone number on it. It is about collecting data on users over the long term, looking for patterns in the data, and adapting your interaction with the users based on those patterns. The precondition for this heartier form of personalization is the perception by the user that they can trust you with the data being collected on them. Getting the users permission is central. Godin discusses a variety of techniques and case studies that show how permission can be attained and increased over time.

Permission marketing can be done honestly or dishonestly. It is possible to walk the walk and talk the talk of the permission marketer without really respecting the customer. All you know is that you have to offer free goodies frequently and try to trick the customer into a higher level of permission. I can imagine that many permission marketing systems are run in this manner. They may even be successful. Alternatively, permission marketing may reflect the ethical manner in which you choose to do business with your clients. You ask for permission to educate first and strive to retain that permission by consistently delivering superior value. This form of permission marketing has been practiced by many successful business people over the ages and it is hoped that Seth Godin's book will help us to see this method of business in a clearer light.

Permission marketing can be done honestly or dishonestly. It is possible to walk the walk and talk the talk of the permission marketer without really respecting the customer. All you know is that you have to offer free goodies frequently and try to trick the customer into a higher level of permission. I can imagine that many permission marketing systems are run in this manner. They may even be successful. Alternatively, permission marketing may reflect the ethical manner in which you choose to do business with your clients. You ask for permission to educate first and strive to retain that permission by consistently delivering superior value. This form of permission marketing has been practiced by many successful business people over the ages and it is hoped that Seth Godin's book will help us to see this method of business in a clearer light.
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