Permission Marketing – How Can Your Brand Benefit From It?

For a very long time, marketing has been construed as something intrusive and interruptive, be it a TV commercial, an ad on the radio, a telemarketing call or a pre-roll ad that plays before the video content. The traditional way of marketing is actually called Interruption marketing in which people have to stop what they’re doing to pay attention to the marketing message. But with marketing technology evolving, the old ways are making way for newer techniques and practices.

Have you ever signed up for a newsletter or subscribed for notifications from the brand you love? Your answer might be ‘yes’ and that’s how you said ‘yes’ to Permission Marketing.

What is Permission Marketing?

Permission marketing isn’t a new concept. It was coined and popularised by Seth Godin in 1999. In his book, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends, and Friends into Customers, Godin explains that consumers should have the power to choose how they’re marketed to.

He explains the term as “the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal, and relevant messages to people who actually want them.”

The concept of permission based marketing is based on the belief that customers must have the control over the brand-customer relationship. They must have the freedom to ask for more or choose the messages to stop.

Why is Permission Marketing Relevant Today?

It was way back in 2012 when The Marketoonist mentioned Yankelovich Consumer Research findings about marketing clutter in this post. It said, “We’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 marketing messages a day back in the 1970s to as many as 5,000 a day today.”

Marketing Clutter by Marketoonist

It is quite difficult to imagine the amount of marketing clutter we are in today. Customers are bombarded with marketing content day in day out. In such times, permission marketing has been hailed as a way to sustained success.

The Importance of Permission Marketing And How You Should Leverage It

Today, customers are more willing than ever to share their personal information with brands to avail benefits and rewards. They also leave digital footprints across the internet. Although receiving permission from customers to send marketing messages to them fulfils a company’s legal obligations, but treating this permission as a license to send customers overwhelming amounts of content over a long period is a mistake too many brands make. Excessive marketing puts the brand’s reputation and customer relationships at risk.

Permission Marketing is a great way to build strong relationships with the customers and upgrade the brand trust within them. But how do you leverage it? Let’s read ahead:

Permission Marketing can be bifurcated into:

  • Explicit: The “Explicit” form of permission marketing is used for building new relationships with potential customers. For instance, consumers may sign up for your newsletters to willingly know more about your organization or with the intent of consuming more content. This type of permission marketing helps in understanding your customer psyche and what exactly are they looking for.
  • Implied: Implied permission marketing helps you enhance the existing relationship with a customer and engage them throughout their journey as a customer of your brand. For instance, sharing rewards or special offers with them, makes them feel privileged and hence leads to return purchases.

How Does Permission Marketing Function in a Digital World?

Marketers who practise permission marketing send marketing messages based on the degree up to which customer allows/solicits information from the marketer. This is called ‘permission intensity’. It may vary from customer to customer, and may change within the same customer-marketer relationship at different times.

When a customer is actively shopping for a product or service, than permission intensity is the highest.

In essence, permission marketing is also a two-way communication.

It is most effective with those customers (generation Y and Z) who have grown up with the internet and mobile marketing and are active on various social media. So, permission marketers should target the young population who are ready to share their personal information in order to get better services and more shopping opportunities.

How Worthy Is Permission Marketing For Your Brand?

Permission Marketing can play a vital role in building your brand’s image and brand recall in a healthy and sustainable way, by engaging your consumers and keeping them informed about what will benefit them. Some of the important examples include email newsletters, SMS notifications, event notifications, etc.

Today, permission marketing is increasingly being adopted across industries. In Facebook, software’s like Facebook Connect take the user’s permission and allows other applications and websites to share information about the user. This saves time of the user as he/she does not have to register the same information every time with a different application. When a Facebook user adds a new app on Facebook, a window pop up notifies the user that the app requests your permission to access your information. Marketers, get opportunities for permission marketing, when customers subscribe to an SMS, newsletter, or blog or go for loyalty cards.

For example, when customers apply and get a membership card, they can check their reward points earned on their card or get a replacement if the card is lost. When they become members, customer details are collected like their birthdays, wedding anniversaries etc. In turn, companies like Reliance can send greetings through SMS or email campaigns on their birthdays or anniversaries, and can also offer them exclusive discounts too. Hence, in permission marketing, the customer does not get continuously unsolicited email camapigns or SMS.

Although permission-marketing is one of the best ways to target your audience on a personalized level, it is important to keep in mind the following while exploring this channel of marketing:

  • Make sure the customer grants permission
  • State clearly that the consumer’s information is private
  • Make unsubscription an easy-to-find option in the footer of emails
  • Choose a content that incentives the subscriber to continue coming back for more

Permission based marketing offers multiple benefits to marketers. Even though it is expensive, in the long term it offers the following benefits:-

  • Lowers marketing costs – Permission marketing makes use of low cost online tools like social media, emails, search engines etc. This is one of the major benefits of permission marketing. Also, by targeting the interested customers only, the marketing cost can also be brought down considerably.
  • High conversion rate – as the targeted customers have shown an interest in the product, chances of converting leads into sales is higher.
  • Personal messages – marketers can send personalized messages to their customers and target them specifically according to age, gender, location etc.
  • Can establish long-term customer relationships – by using social media and email marketing, marketers can interact more and establish long-term relationships with their customers.
  • Maintains reputations in the market – in interruption marketing, customers are bombarded with too much information which can damage a marketer’s reputation in the market. On the contrary, permission marketers engage only with willing customers, there by maintain a good brand reputation.

Every brand’s goal is to develop a customer relationship that will lead to evangelism. Today, the world is overloaded with information, with identical marketers selling identical products and services leading to an overload of advertisements and spam. In such scenarios, permission marketing is a welcome shift. Also, brands are extra-careful is guarding the customer information. They are now removing third-party widgets and other technologies that sell user data without the user’s permission.

Nevertheless, permission marketing also has many challenges to overcome. We would discuss them in our further posts on the subject. To understand how a growth marketing platform can like Smartech can be in a partner in helping you adopt permission marketing, get in touch with us today!

Ritu Poddar

Ritu Poddar

Ritu is a Technical Writer & Content Developer by profession, and a Poet & Creative Writer by passion. She works as Assistant Manager, Content Development at Netcore.

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