Book Review | Permission Marketing | Seth Godin

Interruption Marketing, definition – traditional, untargeted, unmeasurable marketing that bothers you.

Permission Marketing, definition – targeted, relevant, useful marketing that is presented to you at the right time and place because you allowed it to happen.

Which marketing do you develop in your organization?

Let me first start by saying that this book was written in 1999 and yet everything inside of it is still relevant in 2013. This just displays how ahead of his time Seth Godin was. I couldn’t believe how relevant every word, concept and example was while reading it. Most books that speak about the digital space are pretty much outdated in a year or two but this book is different because it doesn’t just speak to a channel but to the art of marketing.

Thesis of the Book:

The thesis of this book is that Permission Marketing, the act of building a relationship with customers and maximizing their lifetime value, is a far more profitable strategy than Interruption Marketing, the act of spraying your offer to as many prospects as possible for a single transaction. As Seth outlines, “The Permission Marketer works to change his focus from finding as many prospects as he/she can to converting the largest number of prospects into customers. Then he leverages the permission on an ongoing basis.”

Permission marketing is anticipated (people look forward to hearing from you), personal (the messages are directly related to the individual) and relevant (the marketing is about something the prospect is interested in).

Why do so many marketers choose to go after reach when presented with the options of reach vs. frequency? Is it because reaching a lot of people is easier than talking to the same group of people three, four or five times? Permission marketing definitely takes more time, resources and money, but in the long-term it produces the best rewards when the following commandments are followed:

5 Commandments of Permission Marketing:

  1. When you are a Permission Marketer, you are a farmer and constantly need to work at harvesting your crop/customers, as opposed to an Interruption Marketer who is just a hunter and tries to kill something once with a single bullet
  2. Permission is a process, not a single moment
  3. Never breach the trust of your customer once they grant you permission to speak with them by selling their data to someone else
  4. Frequency is always better than Reach
  5. Give a prospect a reason to pay attention – you have to offer an explicit reward, information, education, entertainment, or even cold hard cash to get the customer to opt-in to the message

Should marketers abandon TV, radio and print media? Absolutely not. But marketers need to understand that these traditional forms of media should not be the only tactics used. Marketers need to understand that to have customers for life, you need to develop relationships and frequently engage with them.


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