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Permission Marketing

Seth Godin
Chapter Two
The Basics

Interruption Marketing
- Overwhelms consumers with irrelevant information
Wastes our most coveted commodity, time

Permission Marketing
- Offers the consumer an opportunity to volunteer to be
marketed to
- Encourages consumers to participate in a long-term,
interactive marketing campaign
- Consumers are rewarded in some way for paying attention to
increasingly relevant messages
Chapter Two
Advantages of Permission Marketing

- Permission marketers turn clutter to their advantage.

 - When there's an abundance of any commodity, the value
of that commodity plummets.
- Universal scarcity is time and consumers are willing to
pay handsomely to save time.
- Permission Marketing cuts through the clutter and allows
a marketer to speak to prospects as friends, not strangers.
- The Internet is the greatest direct mail medium of all
time, and the low cost of frequent interaction makes it
ideal for Permission Marketing.
Chapter Two
Getting Married Analogy

There are two ways to get married

1. Traditional Interruption Marketing

- A single man walks into a bar and proposes to one woman. If
she says no, he goes to the next woman and so on. The message is
sent to a mass audience, and is mostly rejected

2. Permission Marketing
- Permission Marketing is like dating. It turns strangers into
friends and friends into lifetime customers. Many of the rules of
dating apply, and so do many of the benefits.
Chapter Two
Five steps to “dating” your customer

1. Offer the prospect an incentive to volunteer

2. Using the attention offered by the prospect, offer a curriculum over
time, teaching the consumer about your product or service
3. Reinforce the incentive to guarantee that the prospect maintains the
4. Offer additional incentives to get even more permission from the
5. Over time, leverage the permission to change consumer behavior
towards profits
Chapter Two

Job Search
- An interruption marketer looks for a job by sending a resume
to one thousand strangers. A Permission Marketer gets a job by
focusing on one company and networking with them, consulting
for them, working with them until they trust him enough to offer
him a full time position.

Book Publisher
- A book publisher who uses interruption marketing sells
children's books by shipping them to bookstores, hoping that the
right audience will stumble across them. A Permission Marketer
builds book clubs at every school in the country.
Chapter Four
Getting Permission

Permission Marketing
- obtaining a new customer (interruption
marketing) is expensive
- cousin to One to One marketing approach

The Permission Marketer

- works to change his focus from finding as many
prospects as he can to converting the
largest number of prospects into customers
- requires an overt agreement from both sides
Chapter Four
One to One Marketing
About One to One Marketing
- focuses on extracting the maximum value from each customer
instead of spending time and money on finding new ones
- ex. Levi’s jeans: offers semi-custom jeans for women made to order
based on personal measurements
- huge savings in inventory risk and advertising
- customer-focused instead of retail focused
- more pressure because each customer is worth more

Example: Streamline Services

- service that runs errands for customers, such as buying groceries,
pharmaceuticals, dry cleaning, etc.
-customer gives permission for Streamline to access their favorite
products, meds, purchases, and credit cards

***Sometimes gently “firing” a customer is wise when they have negative

Chapter Four

Camp Arowhone case

- print ads sell the brochure (not the camp)
- brochure sells the meeting (not the camp)
- the meeting sells the camp
- each step expands permission
- campers tend to return and bring siblings

Hooked on Phonics
-”call (800) ABCDEFG for free info to help your kids”
- no downsides, no money, no price mentioned
- radio add does not sell the product, just gets
Chapter Four
Interruption and Permission Marketing

Interruption as a Part of Permission Marketing

1. Interrupt
2. Engage in a bargain
3. Exchange data with the customer
4. Teach
5. Eventually leverage the permission you’ve obtained

Fun Tips
- be personal, relevant, specific, always be anticipated (anticipation is better than
- Gradually raise the level of permission you extract without surprising the

Final Fact
- Interruption Marketing is all about the cost-per-view of an ad compared to the
profit-per-view to determine whether the ad is useful or not
Chapter Five
Relationships start with…

-Makes the decision for us about where we buy
-Experience builds that trust
-Pan Am; Million dollar logo

-Individuals will act with calculated risk based on learned

“Trust, it turns out, is not an event. You can’t go from anonymity to trusted brand in a day. Instead it’s a step-
by-step process that requires time and money and commitment”
Chapter Five
Getting to know each other.

One ad isn’t enough

-Noise distracts audience from the message

-Double the length of a fish the weight goes
up by four
-Get out there; everywhere
Chapter Five
Think love. Not lust.

-Touching one hundred people is not the same as
reaching twenty-five people four time

-Past the “getting to know you” phase into the
“finishing sentences” phase
Chapter Five
Ask first. Thank later.

Frequency. Awareness. Familiarity. Trust.

Crisco, Tabasco, Campbell’s, Vaseline and Arm & Hammer

-These items are integrated into people’s life; little advertising
is needed to inform consumers of products

Permission Marketing
-Stop interrupting and begin interacting
-Encourages commitment and frequency
Chapter Five
Change is bad.

Don’t fix it till it stops working!

Chapter Six
The Five Levels of Permission

The goal of permission marketing is to move

customers up the “permission ladder”
- From strangers to friends to customers
- Every step up the ladder, trust, responsibility
and profits grow

Levels of Permission Marketing

1. Intravenous
2. Points
3. Personal Relationships
4. Brand Trust
5. Situational
Chapter Six
Intravenous Permission Level

-Marketer is making decisions on behalf of the customer

-For example, book of the month clubs or magazine


-Why would people do this?

-To save time
-To save money
-They don’t want to make decisions
-To avoid stock-outs

-Second level of authorization is required by customer
before they are billed, they are able to say no
-For example, credit cards you’re charged for having,
even if you don’t use them, or Amazon suggesting items to
Chapter Six
Points Permission Level

-Customer is given points for purchases or giving their

attention to the marketer

-Customer is given more personal attention, which they

will respond positively to

-Two types: points liability and chance models

Points liability model Points Chance Model

-every point has a real value -instead of guaranteeing a reward,
associated with it gives more chances to win the
-could possibly cost the reward
marketer more -marketers must constantly raise
-reward has to have value to the the stakes to keep customers
customer interested
Chapter Six
Personal Relationship Permission Level

-Effective way to temporarily focus a customer’s

attention, but completely dependent on the
individual, so the marketer has less control

-Risky because one bad interaction could lose the

marketer’s permission with the customer

-This relationship must be constantly maintained

-Most powerful form of marketing for making major

shifts in a customer’s behavior
Chapter Six
Brand Trust Permission Level

-Most common permission level used by marketers

-Expensive, takes a long time to develop, hard to measure,

and hard to manipulate

-Brand trust leads to brand extension

-Makes it harder for new brands to break into the market

Chapter Six
Situation Permission Level

-Very time sensitive

-For example, asking for directions, getting advice from a

sales clerk about a gift, “Would you like fries with that?”

-Level of quality must be maintained by front-line people:

the people who answer phones or work the cash registers

-Marketers must figure out how to turn this interaction into

something more
Chapter Six

-Lowest form of permission marketing, but most marketing

is spam

-Marketers don’t actually have the customer’s permission

-Forced onto the customer whether they want it or not

-Doesn’t follow the most important pieces in getting a

customer’s permission, so it’s unwelcome

***The most important part of

permission marketing is that it’s
anticipated, personal, and relevant.
Chapter Seven
Permission is nontransferable

Permission rented is permission lost

- Transferring information amongst marketers is losing
permission completely
- Customers give permission & expect it to not be shared
- If companies send “advertisements” that are not asked for
they have lost permission

Traditional Interruption Marketing

-Banner Ads, Direct Mailers, etc all have specified “target
lists” which refine, cross reference and research to get the best
possible fit
- Multibillion dollar industry of sales of consumer information
and transfer of data
Chapter Seven
Permission is Selfish

Permission Marketing
- People care very little about companies, products, other
consumers, and especially being talked to without their permission;
people are selfish
- Consumers are in control; not marketers
- People are selfish about their time and their attention

Interruption Marketing
- Hold people hostage; doesn’t provide them with a want to
pay attention
- Doesn’t reward consumers and provides no benefit for
giving permission
- Speaks in a monologue AT consumers not WITH consumers
Chapter Seven
Permission is a process, not a moment

Interruption Marketing
- Measures results directly following the marketing
i.e. Orders placed after a direct mailer is sent out

Permission Marketing
- Begins with an interruption but evolves into a dialogue
- Like dating it takes many conversations for a relationship
to flourish
- Social media communications, online B2C forums, instant
chat services are all forms of process oriented marketing designed
to engage consumers before AND after the sale
Chapter Seven
Permission can be cancelled at any time
Interruption Marketing
- The customer is at the mercy of the marketer
- Marketers can send as many advertisements as
they can afford to do

Permission Marketing
- Marketing messages must be created to ensure
that its not the last one
- Knowing the end is always a moment away
the marketer do a better job