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March 21, 2021

Permission Marketing: What It Is And Why You Need To Know It

We all have those friends who pop up out of the blue just to ask for a favour.

They rarely check in with us, but only message us when they need something.

This is interruption marketing.

If, however, they checked in on us regularly and had maintained a relationship, we'd likely be more inclined to help them with something, should they ever need it.

This is permission marketing.

Interruption Marketing

When ads were first introduced to newspapers, TV and radio, they were novel and relatively few in number.

If a company had the budget to take up a prime advertisement spot, they were almost guaranteed a large return on their investment.

As long as their product was half-decent, the newfound exposure through ads would help them skyrocket their sales.

Then came the golden age of advertising... and everyone wanted in.

With time, ads started appearing everywhere. It was no longer a helpful way to inform us of the latest products but a nuisance that suffocated our attention and sought to drain our wallets.

This was interruption marketing. The aim was to interrupt our lives in the hope that we'd perform an action that was favourable and often, profitable.

Interrupting marketing doesn't work anymore. Well, not like it used to.

Permission Marketing

"But whatever you do, however you do it, if you get your prospect’s permission to sell to him, you have won a valuable asset, an asset no competitor can take from you. You have won the prospect’s cooperation and participation. He and you are now collaborating."
- Seth Godin

There's a new way of marketing which can teach us all a lesson on how we should interact with people.

It involves gaining the permission and cooperation of strangers through patience, respect and value proposition.

We listen to our friends' product recommendations because they have our attention.

We trust our favourite influencers because we know them through years of interaction.

We buy from companies who consistently work on their relationship with us, earning our permission to sell in the process.

Seth Godin describes permission marketing as having 3 attributes. It has to be anticipated, personal and relevant.

A random ad thrown our way may be lucky enough to be relevant, but it has to be super targeted if it is to be personal. Even so, it would never be anticipated if they had interrupted us, because we had never asked to hear from them.

Compare this with a recommendation from a friend. You look forward to hearing from them, they can tell you about relevant products and personalise their message because they know you best.

This isn't just about selling. We're all marketing in our everyday lives.

The next time you want a favour from a friend, make sure you have permission to do so. Don’t simply interrupt them.

If you want something from strangers, offer value through consistent interaction in order to gain their permission for a future ask.

In a world increasingly trying to interrupt others, work towards gaining permission.

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