Permission Marketing Chapter 1 – Looking Back
By Optism Team, May 6, 2011
Optism provides permission-based, mobile marketing services. Providing the opportunity for mobile subscribers to opt-in to advertising messages based on their preferences is the core tenant of our service. Our blog series Permission Marketing in the News has been highlighting mobile and other permission marketing news for the past year. The leading proponent of permission marketing is Seth Godin who coined the term in his book Permission Marketing in 1999. To celebrate our one year anniversary, we are running a series of blog posts summarizing his book chapter by chapter and analyzing how changes in the mobile and advertising marketplace have impacted the recommendations in his book.
Chapter One of Permission Marketing by Seth Godin outlines the differences between traditional advertising and permission marketing. Instead of calling it traditional advertising, Godin dubs it interruption marketing because it interrupts us from what we are doing. Godin writes,”Interruption, because the key to each and every ad is to interrupt what the viewers are doing in order to get them to think about something else.” For example, having to watch a TV commercial interrupts us from watching our favorite TV show. Godin believes trying to convince your audience to buy your product by interrupting them is a challenge.
The difficulty of this challenge has been amplified by the proliferation of media channels and advertising outlets. According to Godin, the average consumer sees about one million marketing messages a year or about 3,000 a day, up substantially from even 10 years ago. The resulting cacophony has forced the audience to increasingly tune out all advertising messages, forcing marketers to further increase the volume of advertisements.
Godin says this “infoglut” has forced marketers to react in four ways. First, they are advertising in stranger and stranger places like parking meters, grocery store receipts and super-imposed graphics at sporting events. Second, they are making advertisements more controversial and entertaining. One examples of this is BMW’s series of high-budget, short films called The Hire with top-notch actors like Clive Owen and Don Cheadle. Third, brands are scrapping long-term campaigns like the Pillsbury Doughboy and trying new approaches to gain the attention of the audience. Fourth, marketers are abandoning advertising and going with direct mail. Since 1999, consumers have opted-out of direct mail lists by the millions, reducing the attractiveness of this marketing opportunity. Additionally, the audience has shifted over from other media to the Internet, forcing those marketing dollars into search engine marketing.
Godin concludes Chapter One by acknowledging the Catch-22 that interruption marketers face. Consumers have a finite amount of attention and money, but there are more products than ever. Marketers need to spend more money to capture consumers’ attention, leading to more advertisements and more tuning out by consumers. This is the Catch-22: The more they spend, the less it works. The less it works, the more they spend.” That statement was true in 1999 and it continues to be true today.