Permission Marketing


Permission marketing is a term that was first coined by Seth Godin who is an American author of business books. It is a term used in marketing in general, but specifically refers to e-marketing. Mr. Godin believes that advertising doesn’t work as well as it used to due to clutter and the fact that most people have just learned to ignore them. (Here is a link to a humorous interruption marketing video ) Permission marketing requires that a company that wishes to market its products to prospective customers must first obtain the permission of the potential customer. This permission can be either explicit (through email, catalog or another form of written consent) or implicit (advertisements related to a query entered in a search engine).

Contrary to permission marketing, mass-marketing have taken on the role of interruption marketing. This type of marketing can take on the form a TV commercial interrupting a television show, a telemarketer interrupting a family dinner or even a print ad interrupting an article. Godin says that people are being overwhelmed with all these interruptions and have learned to tune out mass-marketing efforts. Permission marketing is built on customers “raising their hands” (one of Godin’s favorite phrases) and agreeing to learn more about a company and the products it offers.

Many studies have been done to see how many advertisements a person is exposed to (hear and see) in a day. The numbers from these studies vary but the number that is generally agreed up is 3000! This type of interruption marketing has caused potential consumers not only to ignore marketing efforts, but sometimes they can be driven away from a particular product, brand, or even company if they feel that marketing efforts have intruded or interrupted what they were doing. The National "Do Not Call" list enforces the idea that consumers are feeling bombarded by most interruption marketing efforts. This has caused many companies to move away from traditional advertising methods and move towards permission marketing which has shown great success.

Key motivations for using Permission Marketing

  • Better targeted marketing communication (56.5% of current users)

  • Increase in profitability (48.9% of current users)

  • Customer Relation Management – get more value from current customer base (48.4% of current users)

Key rewards of using Permission Marketing

  • Permission Marketing is more cost effective than current marketing activities. (60.5% of current users)

  • It gives a long-term competitive edge. (60.6% of current users)

  • Companies currently using Permission Marketing believe that using opt-in files attract new more profitable customers. (61.4% of current users)

  • It helps build a stronger and more loyal relationship with both current and potential customers (78.9% of current users)

  • Permission Marketing helps cut down on wasted resources (70% of current users)

The Four Rules of Permission Marketing
1. Make sure the names on your list belong there - Only people who have agreed to receive information about your company or products should be on your mailing list, otherwise the information you send out is considered as "spam".

2. Let your customers decide the format in which they'll receive your promotional mailings - Some people will want to receive information via email and others will want regular mail sent to them.

3. Give customers a chance to opt out of future mailings - If customers have the option of opting out of your mailing list, they will feel like they have more power in the decision making process. Customers will come and go, so give them this option.

4. Give fair notice to your visitors if you harvest names from your Web site - Inform and reassure customers that their information is safe and you will not sell or distribute it to other companies. Develop a privacy policy and let it be readily available for customers to read.



1. Permission Marketing on Wikipedia -
2. Information and an Interview with Seth Godin -
3. Permission Marketing Research Conducted by The Preference Service -
4. Four Rules of Permission Marketing -