Posted: 2017-10-17 20:04
This is a book about the attention crisis in America and how marketers can survive and thrive in this harsh new environment. Smart marketers have discovered that the old way of advertising and selling products isn't working as well as it used to, and they're aggressively searching for a new, enterprising way to increase market share and profits. Permission Marketing is a fundamentally different way of thinking about advertising and customers.
What is one permission worth? According to their annual report, AOL has paid as much as $855 to get one new customer. American Express invests nearly $655 to get a new cardholder. Does American Express earn enough in fees to justify this expense? Not at all. But the other benefits associated with acquiring the permission to market to a cardmember outweigh the high cost. Amex sells its customers a wide range of products, not just an American Express card. They also use sophisticated database management tools to track customer behavior so they can tailor offers to individuals. They leverage their permission to increase revenue.
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Nike uses the same approach to sell sneakers, and now this radical overspending strategy is being used by others, especially on the internet. The thinking behind it is based on an all or nothing roll of the dice. Basically, because clutter is so pervasive, anyone who can successfully break through and create a new mass market product will reap huge rewards. And betting vast amounts of other people's money on that breakthrough is one way to play.
Over time, the marketer uses the permission he's obtained to change consumer behavior, that is, get them to say, I do. That's how you turn permission into profits. After permission is granted, that's how it becomes a truly significant asset for the marketer. Now you can live happily ever after by repeating the aforementioned process while selling your customer more and more products. In other words, the fifth and final step is to leverage your permission into a profitable situation for both of you. Remember, you have access to the most valuable thing a customer can offer - attention.
In this chapter, I'm going to outline the core ideas behind Permission Marketing. Every marketing campaign gets better when an element of permission is added. In some cases, a switch to marketing with Permission can fundamentally change a company's entire business model and profit structure. At the very least, the basic concepts of Permission will help you formulate and launch every marketing campaign with greater insight and success.
Of course, just as suburbanites learned when they fled the city to avoid the crowds, if a strategy works, other people will be right on your heels. That bucolic countryside rapidly fills up with other people looking to get away from it all. Correspondingly, as each of these promotional media becomes measurably effective, every smart marketer rushes to join in. Finding a unique approach that cuts through the clutter is usually very short lived.
Adult Swingers, have you seen a neighbor walking from the front door to the car, wearing a long overcoat, in August? Maybe she's wearing something a bit too sexy under that coat. I've begun to notice some couples' reaction when a sexy lady walks by at the local pizza place. It's very interesting to see when they both turn to watch as she walks away. That's a pretty big clue. Yes, swingers are everywhere, and if you look, you'll see them. A few careful questions later, you'll be able to confirm that they are, in fact, swingers.
A call to Streamline leads to a customized sales pitch by a trained Streamline sales rep. And in a surprisingly high number of cases, that sales pitch leads to a first sale. Then Streamline comes to your house and installs a large wooden box and a refrigerator in your garage. Next, they ask to come into your house so they can scan the UPC codes on every item in your fridge and food cabinet. They take down the name of your pharmacy and where you like your clothes dry cleaned. Talk about Permission!
The practice has become increasingly widespread because it works. In a survey of 955 clients by San Francisco-based retargeting company Adroll, 79 percent said their retargeting ads performed better than regular banner ads. For that reason, retargeted ads can cost as much as three times more. At least a dozen companies offer the service, including startups you've never heard of, such as Adroll (which is on track to do $655 million in annual revenue, according to the company), Criteo and Fetchback, as well as large companies such as Google. Facebook and Twitter have recently started selling retargeted ads, so that ads inside their social networks can target you based on your activity across the Web.
Sometimes you're lucky enough that a stranger comes to you of his own accord. There will always be a few people who straggle onto your web site, for example, or potential customers who call your toll free number or walk into your store. These are the freebies. Most of the time, however, you've got to use the tried and true interruptive techniques to reach large numbers of people. Using measurable techniques, marketers can choose television, radio, print, direct mail or electronic media to grab the attention of consumers. But without some way to grab the attention of a stranger, the permission process never starts.
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Based on these stories, however, there's no way to know what type of customer, or future revenues, she represented. But given our vastly improved ability to know customers at an individual level, it's important to recognize that some customers carry a negative value, and it's sometimes wise to get rid of them. The reward comes to the marketer in the form of an increased ability to concentrate on nurturing the customers who represent the quality permission candidates for future business.
Since the prospect has agreed to pay attention, it's much easier to teach them about your product. Instead of filling each ensuing message with entertainment designed to attract attention, or with sizzle designed to attract the attention of strangers, the Permission Marketer is able to focus on product benefits -- on specific, focused ways this product will help that prospect. Without question, this ability to talk freely over time is the most powerful element of this marketing approach.
Adult Swingers, as each generation enters sexual maturity, with less sexually repressed attitudes, they are increasingly willing to experiment. Just as it has become more socially acceptable to be gay or lesbian, sexual attitudes toward bisexuals and partner swapping are also changing. The taboo that society places on everything it categorizes as "out of the norm" has kept both homosexuals and swingers in the closet. But today it almost seems cool to be Gay. Perhaps in a few years, it will be the "in thing" to be a swinger.
It turns out that in response to people who do searches online, Alta Vista delivers about 955 million pages a month. That means that the average page that they have indexed in their search engine is called up exactly nine times a month. Imagine that. Millions of dollars invested in building snazzy corporate marketing sites and an average of nine people a month search for and find any given page of information on this search engine.
As a result of these investments, companies needed mass advertising. It did no good to build a factory that was efficient at mass production if it was impossible to deliver those goods to a larger market. And you couldn't do that if you couldn't persuade consumers to buy them. Instead of relying solely on word of mouth and personalized sales, big companies had no choice but to discover a way to get lots and lots of people to buy the output of their factories.
The third step involves reinforcing the incentive. Over time, any incentive wears out. Just as your date may tire of even the finest restaurant, the prospective customer may show fatigue with the same repeated incentive. The Permission Marketer must work to reinforce the incentive, to be sure that the attention continues. This is surprisingly easy. Because this is a two-way dialogue, not a narcissistic monologue, the marketer can adjust the incentives being offered and fine tune them for each prospect.
But once the ball began rolling, Crisco realized that Permission Marketing alone couldn't expand the brand's popularity fast enough. So they took advantage of the lack of clutter and switched gears to an Interruption Marketing campaign. Now that they had a sales base, they wanted to expand it, fast. So they began buying advertising anywhere they could find it. And because there was so little clutter, the advertising popularized the brand quickly and cheaply.
Permission Marketing has been around forever (or at least as long as dating!), but it takes advantage of new technology better than other forms of marketing. The internet is the greatest direct mail medium of all time, and the low cost of frequent interaction makes it ideal for Permission Marketing. Originally, the internet captured the attention of interruption marketers. They rushed in, spent billions of dollars applying their interruption marketing techniques and discovered almost total failure. Permission Marketing is the tool that unlocks the power of the internet. The leverage it brings to this new medium, combined with the pervasive clutter that infects the internet and virtually every other medium, makes Permission Marketing the most powerful trend in marketing for the next decade.