What is Permission Marketing?

Permission marketing is a new online marketing technique for email, texting and social media campaigns. Permission-based marketing revolves around the organization asking for the privilege of communicating with customers and delivering expected messages that are both personal and relevant. It is the exact opposite of traditional marketing, which bombards random customers with uninvited and unwanted spam messages and junk email.

The Basics

Marketers who solicit permission from consumers recognize that the best way to get consumers to pay attention is to respect privacy and individual choices. Permission marketers understand that when a consumer chooses to pay attention, they are actually investing their time and energy into something important. Organizations cannot get consumers’ attention back if they change their mind or lose interest. Consumer engagement is a valuable asset that shouldn’t be wasted.

Genuine permission is often ignored by companies that automatically use email addresses they obtain to send out oblivious spam emails and texts. Many companies hide their marketing practices within the fine print of privacy policies, but more and more companies recognize that respectful communication increases attention and interaction. One of the worst mistakes that business owners make is investing their entire monthly marketing budget into a single street ad, mailing campaign or large storefront sign. Instead, low-key and low-pressure communication that are expected by consumers is best.

How it Works

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, ask for permission every time users add applications to their home page or want to enter different websites without registering. Signing in with Facebook Connect allows users to verify and give permission that they are sharing information. Any time a user subscribes to a blog, RSS feed, newsletter or loyalty program, there are valid opportunities for permission-based marketing. To illustrate, consumers who purchase a Starbucks card may register online to check the balance, or get a replacement card if needed.

During the registration process, Starbucks will request the consumer’s birthday to send them a coupon. The consumers will receive a welcomed coupon before their birthday, but they do not receive a constant stream of unsolicited email. Most companies will spam consumers while not realizing that they will simply close their account, mark the emails as junk mail and complain online. In order to ask permission to send occasional emails, businesses must simply offer something of value to the consumer.

Marketing Techniques

Permission-based marketing communicates with customers according to their personal preference and interaction intensity. That is, the frequency of communication that a customer allows will depend on their individual needs and wants. This so called permission intensity varies between consumers and between marketers who want to communicate with the same consumer. The degree of permission intensity is highest when a consumer is actively searching for specific products or services.

In order to best manage the customer-marketer relationship, companies should offer temporary permission to email deals and offers with a one-click unsubscribe option. One of the main drivers of this unique kind of marketing is the simple fact that it is inexpensive and very reliable. Using RSS feeds and automated email reduces the need to pay postage and waste money on direct mail that consumers simply throw away.

Anyone who wants to work in the exciting field of marketing should consider a specialized degree in marketing. There are online degree programs that offer concentrations in digital, social media and permission marketing.