What is permission marketing and how can it help you face the marketing challenges in today’s privacy-focused world?
Seth Godin’s book Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends and Friends Into Customers revolutionized the way marketers perceive their customers, enabling them to “stay ahead of the digital revolution.”
As Godin defined, permissioned marketing refers to a form of marketing in which consumers are given the option to opt-in to receiving promotional messages. You’ve probably seen companies offer incentives for following you on social media or subscribing to her email list to get coupons. It is deeply rooted in our society.
What sets permission marketing apart from other strategies for reaching consumers is that it already has an engaged audience. Users do not choose to subscribe to your business newsletters, emails, or social media unless they have prior interest in your products. It also has the advantage of being a low-cost way to create personal and relevant relationships, as it is typically done through digital communication tools.
Essentially, this is the opposite of direct marketing, aka blind marketing. In blind marketing, sometimes the only thing consumers have in common is their zip code.
Godin’s book is an essential item in any marketer’s toolkit, but there’s no denying that it was released a long time ago (23 years ago, to be exact).
Meanwhile, an explosion of technology unimaginable in the Y2K era has rocked our world. Marketers have generally tried to keep abreast of these rapid changes, but things like social media and data privacy laws will change the marketer landscape even more.
Still, the idea of allowing consumers to consent to being marketed to them — permission marketing — is more important than ever in this day and age. By enacting permission marketing and adapting it to today’s challenges, brands can adapt to these constant changes while serving their number one priority, the customer.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the challenges we foresee in the industry and some best practices on how to tackle them with permission marketing.
Related Article: Why Awareness, Nurturing, and Trust Are Critical Elements of Marketing
Social data collection and privacy uprising
Any marketer will tell you that the more details you know about a potential customer, the more likely you are to sell successfully. Over the past decade, many marketers have learned more about their customers through their social media data.
Brands primarily used this data to create a synergistic relationship between their marketing efforts and their customers. Because people used social media and businesses could see what their customers liked and disliked, businesses were able to fine-tune their advertising.
Meta — arguably the largest social media company, as it owns WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram — suffered a massive data breach in 2019, resulting in a massive exodus of users and a new wave of data privacy concerns. raised concern.
To further complicate matters, Apple has found two ways to benefit from Meta’s loss. First, they launched a new marketing campaign with his one major selling point: privacy. According to Forbes, users now have more control over how their data is tracked and used. This change had a big impact on other companies, reducing their advertising return on investment by 38%.
A second benefit for Apple was partnering with other companies like Singular to take advantage of ways to model and analyze this newly lost data. This is what separated other brands from the advertising game.
keep an eye out for new tools
Not all businesses can use these data collection technologies that are needed today. Annie Wisner, his CMO of Avenue 10 and vice president of marketing for High Level Marketing, said in his search for new tools for marketing at Permissions: From blog posts to podcasts to webinars to newsletters, content in any format is good as long as it’s valuable, fun to consume, and highly relevant to your audience. “
If any of your company’s current strategies do not meet these criteria, it may be time to change where you are spending your time and money.
One of the proven applications of permission marketing is email subscriptions. Email marketers have to seriously compete for the attention of the younger generation. On average, millennials receive 6-50 emails per day, and Gen Z receive 1-20 emails. Also, they are less likely to get you to open your email.
But that doesn’t mean that these groups don’t like receiving email, and companies shouldn’t abandon their communication medium. According to MediaPost, over 66% of millennials and over 53% of Gen Z want to receive his marketing by email at least once a week.
Wissner says email is a great tool for organizing and finding content. This is a necessary feature due to the increasing need to structure content across multiple communication channels.
She argued that while email has its advantages, other channels such as Slack and social media may be a bit more appealing to younger audiences, as questions, concerns or comments can be responded to immediately. .
For example, some businesses use Facebook Messenger to send ads directly to consumers and maintain it as a place for customers to contact if they need help with an order. Meanwhile, Slack has recently been used in digital conferences as a way to communicate event logistics and award prizes based on participation in chat channels.
Related article: 5 ways to increase loyalty and email signups
Be aware of where your customers are
Permission marketing is often how companies initiate and recirculate clients into the sales funnel. But in an age when the digital and physical are beginning to blur, omnichannel marketing efforts can help consumers complete the sales funnel.
Wissner offered another piece of advice to marketers on the subject. That is using an omnichannel strategy in permission marketing. In many ways, permission marketing is a cornerstone of omnichannel, serving customers where they are.
John McClymont, who has 15 years of experience in the distribution industry, agrees. “Providing a good and consistent customer experience is essential,” he said.
For example, many of today’s young customers spend a lot of time on social media. And after social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter released e-commerce features, Forrester reports that 61% of US adults under the age of 25 have purchased something on social media apps. Did.
“Today, customers are interacting across multiple channels, and businesses need to ensure a consistent experience across all interactions, so an omnichannel communications strategy is essential.”
There is another logistical consideration for companies looking to kick off their sales funnel with permission marketing. Compliance with data regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, for Europe) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
With how interconnected we all are in the world and how products can go viral, the days when marketing materials can only be seen in your local area are long gone.
According to Wissner, this is especially important for small businesses to think about. Under the GDPR, companies that fail to comply can face fines of up to €20 million, regardless of whether they are based in the US.
Ethical Concerns and New Methods of Data Collection
In permission marketing, of course, you want your message to be as personalized as possible, and this is usually done via data. But listening to Mr. Wissner and his Mr. McClymont and looking at the new digital landscape, it’s clear that the old ways of collecting data are changing.
On the one hand, consumers want to be more tech-savvy and keep their information private. And some companies, such as Apple, are responding to that need with new privacy-focused advertising campaigns and device user interfaces.
On the other hand, data collection is so ingrained in all of our technology that, as McClymont said, it would be impossible to prevent the average consumer from being given data just by being connected to the internet. Almost impossible.
Going forward, this dichotomy will only get worse. But companies can prepare him in two ways.
The first is investing in zero-party data or blockchain technology as a way to keep company and customer data safe. Second, start laying the groundwork for customers to offer or sell their data through surveys, interviews, Zoom focus groups, and more.
In true permission marketing ethos, customers appreciate honesty and transparency. Most of the time, if a customer likes your company and your product, they’d rather give the data directly to you than pass it on to a third party (who may sell it over and over again).
Overall, customers gain control and indemnification of their data, and companies get quick feedback from their customers, potentially saving costs in doing so.
Related article: Is it possible to have both privacy and personalization?
The digital environment is changing rapidly. Consumers are tech savvy and looking for new ways to protect their data, but regulations and some brands are adapting to meet these new needs.
Godin’s concept of permission marketing, though old-fashioned, can help marketers create a roadmap for navigating these changes through email, social media, and more.