How important to you is your time? I consider my time to be incredibly valuable. I would venture to guess that most of us don’t have extra minutes lying in between our couch cushions. Twenty four hours in a day, seven days in a week, fifty-two weeks in a year.
That’s it! No more…no less.
So I completely understand why someone would be upset if their time was stolen. And that’s just what marketers have done for the last three-quarters of a century. They’ve interrupted our routines, phoned us at dinner and violated our personal space.
Fast forward to 2013, and you’ll notice that the massive battleship named Business, is slowly making a three-point turn in the opposite direction!
Author and world-renowned marketer Seth Godin, coined the phrase “permission marketing,” when he released a book of the same title in May of 1999. Seth’s prediction was spot on, and the world of buyers and consumers are starting to develop a taste for this new flavor of marketing. Permission marketing only works if the consumer chooses to digest your sales pitch, and pursue a pathway toward making the purchase decision. The leverage is now on the side of the buyer, and no longer can salesman bully their way into our minds. But there are still some out there who continue to try, but their efforts are usually stiff-armed by an educated consumer who knows what they want.
It wasn’t so long ago that companies could send you SPAM, (which by the way is a reference to the canned meat featured in a famous Monty Python skit). They did NOT require your permission to do so. But you’re probably thinking to yourself, “I still get junk in my inbox for stuff I never signed up for!” True, but your information was purchased or rented from a list that you had placed yourself on at one time or another.
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List renting and selling is a very profitable business. Say I have a list of readers that have given me permission to send them email via a mailing list. They did so by subscribing to my newsletter on my website. They filled in the required information usually consisting of their first and last name, email address and possibly a telephone number. I’ve been growing in popularity, so I have 10,000 names on that list. Since most people who subscribe to my content are business owners, I am contacted by a firm that is looking to rent out my list in an effort to promote their new business accounting software. My list consists of their perfect demographic.
I’ve just been presented with an opportunity to trade your permission for cash!
Now I have a choice to make. I can say to myself that this new software may help my readers, make it easier for them to do business, and allow them to send their mailing, or I can tell these guys to “pack sand” and find another list to leech off of! I’ve put too much time and effort into building a solid base of customers to lose them. Yea, they will never know that it was me who sold them out, but I will.
Permission is a selfish thing. We only give it to those from whom we want something in return. A father gives a young man the permission to marry is daughter, and in return he wants him to take care of her. A mother signs a permission slip for the school, so her son can attend a field trip to the zoo. In return, she wants her child to be watched over and kept safe.
What would happen if that permission was abused? Do you think it would be so easily granted in the future?
It’s easy for business owners to be lured into an opportunity where they will profit, but there are always unforeseen residual side effects. When your customers or clients give you their permission, allowing you to send them sale dates, coupons and other marketing material, you need to treat that like a gift, a gift that is wrapped with a ribbon of trust and on the top their sits a bow of respect.
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The difference between a business that last for generations and those that drift by like a petal in the breeze is always a matter of humanity. If you see your customers as flesh and blood rather than a swipe of the debit card, you will always succeed. If you bend your mind toward the all mighty dollar, focus solely on revenue and abuse their permission, you might become rich, but your success will be short-lived. Eventually, your lack of humanity will be the death of your entrepreneurial existence.
I want your venture to be long and prosperous. Overcome all obstacles, and succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Just remember to do one thing…
Thank them for their permission.
Thank you for being a part of this crazy ride! It’s been going amazing, and we can only head up.
Be sure to check us out on Facebook! It’s kind of addictive, but that’s what makes it cool 🙂 ~Andy