Permission Marketing Book Summary : Turning Strangers to Customers

Permission Marketing Book Summary

In this book, Seth Godin tackles a marketing concept that will resonate with you whether or not you’re a marketer. Seth discusses how traditional marketing attempts to draw our attention by incessantly ‘interrupting’ us. This strategy worked temporarily . Over time, however, consumers desensitized themselves to the constant interruptions. While ‘Interruption Marketing’ dies a slow death, ‘Permission Marketing’ makes a comeback .

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Big Idea #1:  Permission Marketing: A privilege, not a right

Traditional marketing uses deliberate interruptions to make a sale. These interruptions are rarely ever relevant or personalized. Interruption marketing essentially claims the right to market to a consumer. You can see how this is a losing long-term strategy.

Permission marketing recognized how interruptions can be easily ignored. Thus, it approaches marketing with a different strategy. It asks for permission to market to a consumer. Once permission is received, the marketer treats it as a privilege. The marketer will respect the permission, and the consumer receives only relevant messages.

In the long run, permission marketing builds anticipation. Interruption marketing, on the other hand, builds frustration.

Big Idea #2 :Permission Marketing: Date your customer before the big proposal

Interruption marketing is like dressing in a fancy suit, walking into a bar and the first thing you say to each girl is: “Will you marry me?”. If she says “No” , you move on to the next girl.  The Permission Marketer will dress up in the same fancy suit and walk into the same bar. But instead of asking the customer to marry him, he'll ask "Can I buy a drink?".  If permission is received, the marketer will then ask for a date. After fostering that relationship he’ll ask for the customer's hand in marriage (ask for a purchase).

Interruption marketing follows the “Spray and Pray” tactic. Sure, you’ll score some sales. But at what cost? Permission Marketing guides the customer through various steps of the process with their express approval. This increases the success rate.

Big Idea #3: With Great Permission Comes Great Responsibility

Seth Godin discusses the various levels of permission granted by a consumer to a marketer. The lowest level of permission is ‘Situation Permission' where the marketer simply asks permission to assist. The highest level is 'Intravenous Permission' where the marketer makes purchasing decisions for the consumer.

Each level has an associated trust factor. The more permission granted — the greater trust you receive. But violating that trust will have equally corresponding damage. For example, let’s say a customer grants you permission to assist him (Situation Permission) But you violate that trust by providing irrelevant/wrong information, he may just forgive you. But if you violate an Intravenous Permission level, you’re most likely never going to hear from that customer again.

Final Thoughts: Permission Marketing is a process. It requires a 'time' investment. But the returns are definitely worth it. When the customer receives an anticipated, personal and relevant message, they are more likely to be a loyal repeat customer.

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You can pick up Permission Marketing  from Amazon in hardcover, Kindle or Audiobook format 🙂

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About the author

Shawn Dexter

Shawn Dexter is a Product Manager, Entrepreneur & Software Developer. He is passionate about innovation management & technology.

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