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Book:  Permission Marketing

Author:  Seth Godin

Purchase:  PrinteBookAudiobook

Citation:  Godin, S. (1999). Permission marketing : turning strangers into friends, and friends into customers. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Three Big Takeaways:​
  1. Permission Marketing offers the consumer an opportunity to volunteer to be marketed to. By talking only to volunteers, Permission Marketing guarantees that consumers pay more attention to the marketing message. It allows marketers to tell their story calmly and succinctly, without fear of being interrupted by competitors. Permission Marketing encourages consumer to participate in a long-term, interactive marketing campaign in which they are rewarded in some way for paying attention to increasingly relevant messages. Permission Marking is anticipated (people look forward to hearing from you), personal (the messages are directly related to the individual) and relevant (the marketing is about something the prospect is interested in). (pg. 43)

  2. Permission Marketing requires patience. Permission Marketing campaigns grow over time - the opposite of what most marketers look for these days. And Permission Marketing takes faith - it requires a belief in the durability of the permission concept before it blossoms with success. It is a measurable process. It evolves over time for every company that uses it. It becomes an increasingly valuable asset. The more you commit to Permission Marketing, the better they work over time. (pg. 51)

  3. At each step, the only goal of the next step is to expand permission. By focusing media on getting permission instead of making the ultimate sale, marketers are able to get far more out of their expenditures. Step two in the process, after the consumer has been interrupted, is to make an offer and ask for volunteers. The offer should provide selfish motivation and offer virtually no downside. The less you ask of the consumer and the bigger the "bribe," the more likely the consumer will give you permission. The permission won't be broad or deep. But it will guarantee that your next interaction will be significantly more impactful. (pg. 74)

Other Key Ideas:

Permission Marketers spend as little time and money talking to strangers as they can. Instead, they move as quickly as they can to turn strangers into someone who "opts in" to a series of communications. Since the prospect has agreed to pay attention, it's much easier to teach him about your product. The Permission Marketer is able to focus on product benefits that help that prospect. Without question, this ability to talk freely over time is the most powerful element of this marketing approach. The Permission Marketer must then work to reinforce the incentive to ensure the attention continues. This should be easy, as the marketer can adjust the incentives being offered and fine-tune them for each prospect. The next step is to increase the level of permission the marketer receives from the potential customer. The goal is to motivate the consumer to give more and more permission over time. The final step is to leverage your permission into a profitable situation. Remember, you have access to the most valuable thing a customer can offer - attention. (pg. 46)

Permission Marketing lets you turn strangers into people willing to pay attention when your message arrives in an expected, appreciated way. (pg. 50)

If you're in a medium where frequency is cheap (like the Internet), take your time. Build trust through frequency. Tell your story patiently to each consumer who is willing to participate in the exchange. By continuing the dialogue, you can teach the consumer until a stranger becomes a friend and then a friend becomes a customer. (pg. 75)

Pat of the attraction of the credit card points/miles programs is that they offer users a sense of mastery. It's easy to feel smart about the way you're using points/miles. You can understand and even try to beat the system. (pg. 111)

In Permission Marketing you must find a reason for the prospect to pay attention. You have to offer an explicit reward - information, education, entertainment - to get the consumer to opt in to the message. Permission Marketers make every single interaction selfish for the customer. "What's in it for me?" is the question that must be answered at every step. (pg. 136)

Consumers can cancel permission at any time. Knowing that the end is always a moment away make the marketer do a better job. Every communication must be crafted with the goal of ensuring that it's not the last one. (pg. 142)

Every commercial website should be set up to accomplish one goal. Your website should be 100 percent focused on signing up strangers to give you permission to market to them. That's all. It doesn't have to be big or fancy or complicated or expensive. Instead, this front door to your business should be obsessed with getting permission. (pg. 160)

Permission Marketing allows you to test. To test everything. Every day. To build hundreds of tests that don't require talent or genius, just perseverance. You can't overestimate the value of this. Aggressively testing every element of a permission campaign can double or triple its effectiveness. (pg. 236)

Your website for new prospects should be small and fast and simple. And it should collect email addresses in exchange for a promise of a benefit. Once you collect that data, care for it. Upgrade. Learn more. Send people to specific sections of your existing website. Give them a reason to go there. (pg. 237)

Once the seeds of permission are planted, there's going to be huge pressure to harvest the results right away. But the sooner you begin to leverage this base, the less it will grow. Giving is far more important than taking, especially in the beginning. (pg. 238)

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