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Permission Marketing: Why Brands Should Be(a)ware!

Written by Ted Rubin

Social Marketing is ultimate in Permission Marketing, and therefore it carries the ultimate marketing danger with it: taking away the permission is totally in the consumers’ control.  Brands be(a)ware!

Permission Marketing puts the power in the consumer’s hands, by requiring that the marketers send promotional messages only to consumers who have given marketers permission to do so, whether explicitly (opt-in email list, for example) or implicitly (internet search).

On one hand this is fantastic because it gives marketers a chance to provide relevant information to interested parties, but on the other hand, brands need to pay all kinds of attention to how they’re using Permission Marketing, because the consumer can pull their interest plug in a heartbeat.

So how can we keep consumers from “opting out” of our brand messages?

It’s only fitting that part of the answer comes from Seth Godin’s definition of Permission Marketing:

“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.”

1.     Permission is a privilege, not a right.

Consumers do not owe us their attention, and they certainly do not owe us their permission.  We need to EARN their permission, and that’s not done by a gimmick or a flashy set of ads.

Permission is earned through quality offers, genuine interest in and deep understanding of consumer preferences/needs, and a consistent track record that builds trust.  Keep the trust -> keep the permission -> keep the consumer.

2.     Relevance is king.  

We all hear daily that content is king – so let’s take that one level further and point out that it’s not just the volume or brilliance of content that matters to your consumers, it is how that content relates to them.  If content is not relevant to your consumer, it is nothing more than a waste of your time and a reason for the consumer to take away permission for ongoing interaction with you.

 3. It’s all about relationships.

People must come first – in your growth strategies, in your marketing plans, and in every social media interaction that you have.  When you place highest priority on people, you take the time to do all those hugely important things that build relationships:

  • You operate from a mindset of SERVICE
  • You think about what you can GIVE TO your consumers, rather than take from them.
  • You ask them questions, listen to and clarify their answers, and get to know their pain points and what delights them.
  • You base your innovations on what CONSUMERS actually need and want.

And the result?  You get and keep your consumers’ permission to continue and build your relationship with them.   In other words, permission is your ROR (Return on Relationship™).

 As you head into 2012, remember that Permission Marketing is a two-way street, and the traffic signals are controlled by consumers.  Be their Green Light… not their stop sign!