Posts tagged ‘permission marketing’

Is Permission Marketing Dead?

Permission Marketing, as a concept, has been around for a long time. In practice, it’s pretty much dead.

The idea makes intuitive sense. You must earn the right to market to your audience. And you do that by respecting them and offering them information that’s relevant. (There’s more to it, and Seth Godin’s post, above, is an excellent summary).

So who killed it? Marketers did.

How? By doing such a lousy job. Marketers got the “asking permission” part down. But apparently, once they asked, “Is it okay to send you promotional emails?” they figured their job was done.

When it came time to do the hard stuff – staying relevant by doing good profiling of their prospects and customers – they fell apart. To this day I almost never come upon a company that does adequate profiling – by “adequate” I mean good enough to establish a relevant marketing conversation with them. One of my colleagues, who left the real estate business years ago, still gets unsolicited emails from mortgage brokers and home inspectors hoping for business. Just who is helped by that kind of sloppy profiling? Little wonder that the “do not track” movement is alive and kicking.

One more thing they missed – the fact that permission-based marketing only works with permission-based selling. You can only transition from the marketing conversation to the sales conversation when your prospects are ready.
To learn when they’re ready, you need to be in a conversation with them. You can’t just send 3 newsletters and then figure they’re overdue for a purchase.

So perhaps permission marketing is one of those ideas, like G.K. Chesterton’s Christianity, that has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried. But if you judge an idea by how well it’s been adopted, I’d say it’s time to call time of death.


September 1, 2010 at 7:59 AM Leave a comment

Thompson Morrison

Thompson Morrison

About Thompson

As CEO of FUSE Insight, Thompson Morrison uses powerful new web interviewing technologies to help businesses better align their brand with the needs and aspirations of their customers. Learn more at


"The single most significant strategic strength that an organization can have is not a good strategic plan, but a commitment to strategic listening on the part of every member of the organization." -- Tom Peters