“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.” So stated Seth Godin in his blog in 2008 (back in the early days of social media), when many of us realised that marketing was to be changed forever.
He explained why in a couple of sentences: “[Permission marketing] 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.”
Social media changed the power balance of buyers and sellers. Traditionally sellers shouted about their wares to attract the attention of passing prospective buyers – a system that had been working since the earliest days of commerce. Advertising told buyers what they should buy. Direct marketing did the same, even though it recognised that a hit rate of 5% was considered a major success.
Social media gave prospective buyers a voice. They talked about what they liked – and didn’t like – and why they liked or didn’t like something. It made research easier so when they were in buying mode, they knew what they wanted, how they wanted to buy it and how they wanted their buying experience to be. Such valuable data that you would think it would make permissions-based marketing so easy to use.
As a buyer, I am rarely treated with respected. And on the rare occasions my opinion is asked, it is rarely listened to. [Update: see article about outcome of buyers being forced to choose the seller’s recommendations] Data is available to find out the minutest detail of our buying behaviour, yet still I am never asked about what MY CHOICES are as a buyer.
Research highlights time and time again how the buyer wants to be in control of the buying process. So why don’t we market to them in the way that makes this easy? Why don’t we make the time and effort to get their permission?
With your permission of course!