Entrepreneur Seth Godin introduced permission marketing in the late 1990s with his groundbreaking book Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends and Friends Into Customers. It became a very effective marketing tool ever since. It is especially useful on the internet. Here is how and why.
What Is Permission Marketing?
Permission marketing refers to a form of advertising where the intended audience is given the choice of opting in to receive promotional messages. Permission marketing is characterized as anticipated, personal, and relevant. It is often positioned as the opposite of direct marketing where promotional material is traditionally sent to a wide customer population without their consent.
There are two types of permission marketing: express and implied.
- Express-permission marketing – The consumer provides their email to receive marketing messages. For example, they might sign up for a newsletter. Express marketing is common when creating new business relationships.
- Implied-permission marketing – The business has an existing relationship with the consumer. This might include someone who’s a current customer or frequent website visitor.
Why It’s Effective
Permission marketing interacts with customers according to their permission intensity—that is, the degree to which a customer allows/solicits information from the marketer. Permission intensity varies between customers, between marketers communicating with the same customer, and within the same customer-marketer relationship at different times. Permission intensity tends to be highest when a customer is actively shopping for a specific product or service that the company provides. As with other types of two-way marketing communication, permission marketing is most effective when the customer is comfortable with providing information about themselves in both quantity and quality. Some customers make reasoned decisions to trade total privacy for better service and more shopping opportunities. As a population, those most comfortable with this decision are those who have grown up with Internet and mobile marketing, who themselves are active in social media and surfing the Web. Permission marketing is a continuous interaction. It doesn’t stop after the permission is given, especially if they like how you interacted with them in the first place. Since you’re targeting them at the most relevant time, they’re less likely to block or ignore your marketing strategy. It’s always a good idea to build a good reputation with your consumers.