Sunday, October 08, 2006

Permission Marketing

We are facing a paradigm shift in global marketing due to the advent or Internet and its reach to the final customer. Youth of today is techno-savvy. White fighting for a brand, market, mind and heart share every company in the global economy faces new expectations and attitudes related to its own product or service. The reality is such that the expectations and attitudes from the customers towards the same product or service are also changing day by day. In such a market targeting and reaching the right customer is becoming tougher everyday. And the appropriateness of the target market can make or break a company. My co-author Prof. Keyoor Purani and I ventured into the issue of permission marketing, which can be used as a tool to understand the expectations and attitudes of the market using which the company can devise a strategy that can serve the goal of survival.

Developed and popularized by Seth Godin(1999), the concept of permission marketing is the opposite of the traditional interruption marketing. Permission marketing is about building an ongoing relationship of increasing depth with customers. In the words of Seth Godin, "turning strangers into friends, and friends into customers." Permission marketing has been hailed as a way for marketers to succeed in a world increasingly cluttered with marketing messages.

Permission marketing (also called invitational marketing) envisions every customer shaping the targeting behavior of marketers (Godin, 1999). Consumers empower a marketer to send them promotional messages in certain interest categories. Typically, this is done by asking the consumer to fill out a survey indicating interests when registering for a service. The marketer then matches advertising messages with the interests of consumers.

We conducted a study with an objective to understand that how the youth reacts to the concept of permission marketing.

The initial findings provide several interesting insights:

  • If the permission marketing email contains information or is related to information there are higher chances that it will be accepted. The next level of acceptance is seen towards the emails, which provides knowledge. The lowest level of acceptance is seen for the emails related to greetings.
  • Ninety-two (92) percent of respondents read the promotional emails, while eight (8) percent of them do not read the emails after subscribing. However, it became very clear that nearly one forth (27%) of the respondents only checked this promotional emails pertaining to their field of interest daily.
  • Sixty-nine (69) percent of the respondent were satisfied with the emails they received from marketers after accepting the permission marketing mailer.
  • With all these positive results there were also several alarming results such as seventy (70) percent of the respondents also unsubscribed the emails within a short period of time.
  • Promotional emails which are perceived as lengthy (more than two screen sizes) deter the respondents from reading the same and does not make any impact.
  • About newer subscription for the promotional emails only thirty-three (33) percent of the respondents said that they will subscribe more promotional emails, while sixty-seven (67) percent said they will not subscribe or stop the existing promotional emails.

Above discussions and findings reveal the expectations and attitude of youth towards the new practice of permission marketing. As seen above, while many customers/prospects invite marketing communications from companies under permission marketing practice, quite a few unsubscribe and withdraw very quickly. Understanding the attitude and the expectations of the youth can help fine tune the practice of permission marketing in order to achieve higher efficiencies and effectiveness. The findings also indicate for what product categories such practice is received favorably or unfavorably helping decide if the company in a particular kind of business can benefit from such practice. The findings also raise several issues related to implementing permission marketing which can be examined by companies keeping their individual model of operations, business type and the product category.

esbn ESBN 22301-060305-140144-92