Permission Marketing Chapter 4 – Getting down to business
By Optism Team, Jul 13, 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 Three of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing sold us on the value of permission marketing. In Chapter Four, it’s time to get down to business. Seth starts with an explanation of the relationship between permission marketing and one to one marketing, a concept developed by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers in their book, One to One Future. To help distinguish the two, Seth introduces the five step “prospect” cycle:
Strangers → Friends → Customers → Loyal Customers → Former Customers
One to one marketing starts with customers. Instead of focusing on increasing the number of new customers, a one to one marketer focuses on “keeping customers longer and getting far more money from each of them over time.” The marketer’s challenge is to hang on to and build the customer’s interest in what a brand has to offer and to maximize your “share of the wallet.”
With permission marketing, Seth encourages marketers to focus up stream and begin nurturing “total strangers from the moment they first indicate an interest.” The first challenge is to get a prospect to “raise his hand” and agree to listen to further messages from the brand. Once this initial permission is given, the marketer can steadily build on that foundation, exchanging value for enhanced permission. By staying engaged with the individual, over time the stranger becomes a friend, and the friend becomes a customer. “If the marketing messages you send are anticipated, relevant and personal, they will cut through the clutter and increase the prospect’s knowledge of the benefits you offer.”
The two approaches have a natural synergy and their long-term perspectives encourage marketers to maximize the value of each customer relationship. That, Seth believes, is where the money is: “The true, current value of any one customer is a function of the customer’s future purchases, across all the product lines, brands and services offered by you.”
Clearly, mobile marketing is ideally suited to both permission marketing and one to one marketing. Seth talks broadly about “technology” being an enabler of permission marketing, but in 1999 few could have envisioned just how quickly mobile technology would become a significant presence is people’s lives or how it could be leveraged by permission marketers. Today, however, we know that SMS marketing can reach the pockets of consumers anywhere in the world, even when they are using the most basic of mobile handsets. Permission-based mobile services like Optism enable marketers to precisely target who gets their messages, and when and how often they get them, so they know their messages are relevant. Marketers have access to detailed analytics so they can measure the impact of any campaign and modify exchanges on the fly, based on customers’ responses.
As far back as 1999 it was apparent that customer care and the role of the customer were changing dramatically. If a customer’s true value was to be measured over a longer term, it was clear brands would need to be highly responsive to the customer’s needs. Seth noted, “Customer service has always mattered. But now that power has shifted to the consumer, it matters a great deal more.”
Seth closes out Chapter Four by addressing that all-important question: how do you get people to raise their hands (to opt in) to permission marketing? Most often, he says, it’s through interruption marketing! “Without some way to grab the attention of a stranger, the permission process never starts.”
The best strategy is to start slowly and build. “An interrupted consumer is in no hurry to send you money or promise to invest a lot of time.” You need to start small and offer something really compelling to get the ball rolling. Using a fishing analogy, Seth suggests you need “the most effective, most obvious bait you can find.”
Once you’re through the door, you can start to expand what you know about the customer and what they know about your products and services, in a mutually-beneficial series of exchanges. As always, it is critical that you, the marketer, provide customers with something of value. Mobile marketing is ideally suited to this kind of approach. You can reach out to customers with short, clear messages and solicit specific information in return. By creating an open channel for the exchange of information, a mobile marketing campaign can help you to maintain that all-important relevancy.
In Chapter Five, we’ll look at the relationship between frequency, trust and permission.