Permission Marketing by Seth Godin

I recently read (well heard cause it was an audio book) Permission Marketing, it’s a book about e-marketing, which was written a long-long time back (1999 to be precise) by marketing guru, Seth Godin. Even though it is quite an old book, the things which Seth talks about are quite relevant even today and would surely be an asset for any business owner, marketing executive or even a blogger.

The whole objective of the book is to make you look beyond traditional forms interruption marketing, which have been employed by marketers and businesses, as long as one can remember and aren’t the best way to go about things, if cost and conversion are your top priority, especially in the age of the internet.

Interruption Marketing is nothing but normal marketing/ads we see around us every day, which try to interrupt/bombard us, in hope that a small number of us, might just be in need of that particular product/brand.

What Seth talks about is engaging a perspective or even a regular customer, not with hopes of a direct sale coming out of that single interaction, but to seek their permission for future engagement and opening them up to your brand and products and developing a relationship, which goes much further than a one-time sale/conversion and hopes to develop a relationship, which is mutually beneficial for the customer and seller.

A classic example of Permission Marketing is legitimate opt-in email list, which can not only bring back an old customer, but also inform regular ones about new products or offers. For instance, I get an email newsletter couple of times a week from EBay India and since I willingly signed up for it and I am genuinely interested in their offers, I not only end up taking advantage of their offers, but also end up browsing their deals of the week, which at times can result in a possible sale for EBay.

Had EBay only focused on new customers or blindly kept advertising, without even thinking of engaging existing customers and giving them benefits for buying/registering with EBay, they would certainly be losing out on sale from customers like me and add to that, wouldn’t be as large as they are today.

While permission marketing goes much further than simply maintaining an email list and utilizing it to market your products, it is best explained by the guru himself, rather than a novice like me. Of course some of the examples Seth gives in the book are quite laughable, due to the fact that things have changed so much in the last decade (for instance Amazon is no longer just an online book seller). However much of the spirit of the book remains true even today and in fact, one can see being utilized by tons of websites and business and even being proliferated off line.


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