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Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers [Hardcover]

Seth Godin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Seth Godin, one of the world's foremost online promoters, offers his best advice for advertising in Permission Marketing. Godin argues that businesses can no longer rely solely on traditional forms of "interruption advertising" in magazines, mailings, or radio and television commercials. He writes that today consumers are bombarded by marketing messages almost everywhere they go. If you want to grab someone's attention, you first need to get his or her permission with some kind of bait--a free sample, a big discount, a contest, an 800 number, or even just an opinion survey. Once a customer volunteers his or her time, you're on your way to establishing a long-term relationship and making a sale. "By talking only to volunteers, Permission Marketing guarantees that consumers pay more attention to the marketing message," he writes. "It serves both customers and marketers in a symbiotic exchange."

Godin knows his stuff. He created Internet marketer Yoyodyne and sold it in 1998 to Yahoo!, where he is a vice president. Godin delves into the strategies of several companies that successfully practice permission marketing, including Amazon.com, American Airlines, Bell Atlantic, and American Express. Permission marketing works best on the Internet, he writes, because the medium eliminates costs such as envelopes, printing, and stamps. Instead of advertising with a plain banner ad on the Internet, you should focus on discovering the customer's problem and getting permission to follow up with e-mail, he writes. Permission Marketing is an important and valuable book for businesses seeking better results from their advertising. --Dan Ring

From Publishers Weekly

Godin, a business whiz kid who does direct marketing for Yahoo!, asks a provocative question: Does advertising work? He cites example after example of recent misguided campaigns, a "waste jamboree" of traditional ads aimed at consumers who no longer care. There's an "infoglut" out there, he says, of ads in myriad media whose only power is to "interrupt" people's lives. Godin's professional journey to his current status as a guru of online promotion began with his work for such industry bigs as Prodigy and AOL. Now, he specializes in direct-mail campaigns online, where he takes advantage of the interactive nature of the technology. Using traditional terms such as reach and frequency to define his efforts, he moves further, into the touchy-feely area of "permission marketing," his term for developing a personal relationship with consumers, where they actually enjoy receiving correspondence. On tape, Godin's message is winning because of his youthful attitude: self-assured, at times cocky, but always sensible. Based on the 1999 Simon & Schuster hardcover. (Aug.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Review

Tom Peters Seth Godin moves to the front ranks of Internet Marketing Gurus with this masterful book. It's trite to say it, but this is a real "must read."

Business Week Seth Godin is the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age.

Robert Tercek Senior Vice-President, Sony Pictures Entertainment The principles of Permission Marketing are incredibly valuable to everyone involved in media today.

Lester Wunderman Chairman-Emeritus of Wunderman Cato Johnson, the largest direct-marketing firm in the world; author of Being Direct. Advertisers are going to have to learn how to deliver messages with frequency and low cost if they are to cope with the increasing competition for the consumer's attention. Seth Godin's Permission Marketing is a big idea.

William C. Taylor Founding Editor, Fast Company Godin and his colleagues are working to persuade some of the most powerful companies in the world to reinvent how they relate to their customers. His argument is as stark as it is radical: Advertising just doesn't work as well as it used to -- in part because there's so much of it, in part because people have learned to ignore it, in part because the rise of the Net means that companies can go beyond it.

Mark Kwamme CEO, CKS Group Permission Marketing is a testament to Godin's profound grasp of digital marketing. "Interruption Marketers" everywhere would do well to read this book.

Eric Hippeau Chaiman, Ziff-Davis, Inc. Finally, here's a measurable method for marketing in a world filled with clutter.

From the Back Cover

"Seth Godin is the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age."
* Business Week

"The principles of permission marketing are incredibly valuable to everyone
involved in media today."
* Robert Tercek, SVP Digital Media, Sony Pictures Entertainment

"Advertisers are going to have to learn how to deliver messages with
frequency and low cost if they are to cope with the increasing competition
for the consumer's attention. Seth Godin's Permission Marketing is a big
idea."
* Lester Wunderman, Chairman-Emeritus of Wunderman Cato Johnson, the
largest direct-marketing firm in the world, author of Being Direct.

"Godin and his colleagues are working to persuade some of the most powerful
companies in the world to reinvent how they relate to their customers. His
argument is as stark as it is radical: Advertising just doesn't work as well
as it used to-in part because there's so much of it, in part because people
have learned to ignore it, in part because the rise of the Net means that
companies can go beyond it."
* William C. Taylor, Founding Editor, Fast Company

"Permission Marketing is a testament to Godin's profound grasp of digital
marketing. 'Interruption Marketers' everywhere would do well to read this
book."
* Mark Kwamme, CEO, CKS Group

"Finally, here's a measurable method for marketing in a world filled with
clutter."
* Eric Hippeau, Chaiman, Ziff Davis Inc

About the Author

Seth Godin, Vice-President, Direct Marketing, Yahoo! Inc., is responsible for Yahoo!'s direct marketing, permission marketing and Internet promotions. Godin joined Yahoo! in 1998 from Yoyodyne, where he served as president and CEO. Yahoo! acquired Yoyodyne, a recognized leader in Internet-based interactive direct marketing, last year.
Recognized as the pioneer of Permission Marketing, Godin is a sought-after speaker on the conference circuit, having presented at the Direct Marketing Association's annual conference, Jupiter events, and ICE, as well as international marketing forums. Last year, Godin was one of the highest ranked speakers, among 403 presenters at Internet World. He is a featured speaker at Fall, Spring and Summer I-Worlds. Godin is also the recipient of the 1998 Momentum Award, honoring outstanding Internet industry accomplishments.
Godin received an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School in 1984. Prior to graduating from Tufts University in 1982 with a degree in both Computer Science and Philosophy, Godin co-founded and ran one of the largest student-run businesses in the coutnry. From 1983 to 1986 he worked as a brand manager at Spinnaker Software, where he led the team that developed the first generation of multimedia products, working with such forward-thinkers as Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton. He managed 40 engineers and introduced more than 60 software and video products to the marketplace.
Godin is the author and co-author of a number of top-selling business books, including E-Marketing, the first book ever published on how to do business online; The Guerilla Marketing Handbook, part of the best-selling Guerilla Marketing series; The Information Please Business Almanacm, a ground-breaking business reference book; and Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Freinds, and Friends into Customers.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One: The Marketing Crisis That Money Won't Solve
You're not paying attention. Nobody is.
It's not your fault. It's just physically impossible for you to pay attention to everything that marketers expect you to -- like the 17,000 new grocery store products that were introduced last year or the $1,000 worth of advertising that was directed exclusively at you last year.
Is it any wonder that consumers feel as if the fast-moving world around them is getting blurry? There's TV at the airport, advertisements in urinals, newsletters on virtually every topic, and a cellular phone wherever you go.
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 searching aggressively for a new, enterprising way to increase market share and profits. Permission Marketing is a fundamentally different way of thinking about advertising and customers.

THERE'S NO MORE ROOM FOR ALL THESE ADVERTISEMENTS!
I remember when I was about five years old and started watching television seriously. There were only three main channels -- 2, 4, and 7, plus a public channel and UHF channel for when you were feeling adventuresome. I used to watch Ultraman every day after school on channel 29.
With just five channels to choose from, I quickly memorized the TV schedule. I loved shows like The Munsters, and I also had a great time with the TV commercials. Charlie the Tuna, Tony the Tiger, and those great board games that seemed magically to come alive all vied for my attention. And they got it.
As I grew up, it seemed as though everyone I met was part of the same community. We saw the same commercials, bought the same stuff, discussed the same TV shows. Marketing was in a groove -- if you invented a decent product and put enough money into TV advertising, you could be pretty sure you'd get shelf space in stores. And if the ads were any good at all, people bought the products.
About ten years ago I realized that a sea change was taking place. I had long ago ceased to memorize the TV schedules, I was unable to keep up with all the magazines I felt I should be reading, and with new alternatives like Prodigy and a book superstore, I fell hopelessly behind in my absorption of media.
I found myself throwing away magazines unopened. I was no longer interested enough in what a telemarketer might say to hesitate before hanging up. I discovered that I could live without hearing every new Bob Dylan album and that while there were plenty of great restaurants in New York City, the ones near my house in the suburbs were just fine.
The clutter, as you know, has only gotten worse. Try counting how many marketing messages you encounter today. Don't forget to include giant brand names on T-shirts, the logos on your computer, the Microsoft start-up banner on your monitor, radio ads, TV ads, airport ads, billboards, bumper stickers, and even the ads in your local paper.
For ninety years marketers have relied on one form of advertising almost exclusively. I call it Interruption Marketing. Interruption, because the key to each and every ad is to interrupt what the viewers are doing in order to get them to think about something else.

INTERRUPTION MARKETING -- THE TRADITIONAL APPROACH TO GETTING CONSUMER ATTENTION
Almost no one goes home eagerly anticipating junk mail in their mailbox. Almost no one reads People magazine for the ads. Almost no one looks forward to a three-minute commercial interruption on must see TV.
Advertising is not why we pay attention. Yet marketers must make us pay attention for the ads to work. If they don't interrupt our train of thought by planting some sort of seed in our conscious or subconscious, the ads fall. Wasted money. If an ad falls in the forest and no one notices, there is no ad.
You can define advertising as the science of creating and placing media that interrupts the consumer and then gets him or her to take some action. That's quite a lot to ask of thirty seconds of TV time or twenty-five square inches of the newspaper, but without interruption there's no chance for action, and without action advertising flops.
As the marketplace for advertising gets more and more cluttered, it becomes increasingly difficult to interrupt the consumer. Imagine you're in an empty airport, early in the morning. There's hardly anyone there as you stroll leisurely toward your plane.
Suddenly someone walks up to you and says, "Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to gate seven?" Obviously you weren't hoping for, or expecting, someone to come up and ask this question, but since he looks nice enough and you've got a spare second, you interrupt your train of thought and point him on his way.
Now imagine the same airport, but it's three in the afternoon and you're late for your flight. The terminal is crowded with people, all jostling for position. You've been approached five times by various faux charities on your way to the gate, and to top it all off you've got a headache.
Same guy comes up to you and asks the same question. Odds are, your response will be a little different. If you're a New Yorker, you might ignore him altogether. Or you may stop what you were doing, say "Sorry," and then move on.
A third scenario is even worse. What if he's the fourth, or the tenth, or the one hundredth person who's asked you the same question? Sooner or later you're going to tune out the interruptions. Sooner or later it all becomes background noise.
Well, your life is a lot like that airport scene. You've got too much to do and not enough time to get it done. You're being accosted by strangers constantly. Every day you're exposed to more than four hours of media. Most of it is optimized to interrupt what you're doing. And it's getting increasingly harder and harder to find a little peace and quiet.
The ironic thing is that marketers have responded to this problem with the single worst cure possible. To deal with the clutter and the diminished effectiveness of Interruption Marketing, they're interrupting us even more!
That's right. Over the last thirty years advertisers have dramatically increased their ad spending. They've also increased the noise level of their ads -- more jump cuts, more in-your-face techniques -- and searched everywhere for new ways to interrupt your day.
Thirty years ago clothing did not carry huge logos. Commercial breaks on television were short. Magazines rarely had three hundred pages of ads (as many computer magazines do today). You could even watch PBS without seeing several references to the "underwriter."
As clutter has increased, advertisers have responded by increasing clutter. And as with pollution, because no one owns the problem, no one is working very hard to solve it.

CONSUMERS ARE SPENDING LESS TIME SEEKING ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS
In addition to clutter, there's another problem facing marketers. Consumers don't need to care as much as they used to. The quality of products has increased dramatically. It's increased so much, in fact, that it doesn't really matter which car you buy, which coffee maker you buy, or which shirt you buy. They're all a great value, and they're all going to last a good long while.
We've also come a long way as consumers. Ninety years ago it was unusual to find a lot of brand-name products in a consumer's house. Ninety years ago we made stuff, we didn't buy it. Today, however, we buy almost everything. Canned goods. Bread. Perked coffee. Even water. As a result, we already have a favorite brand of almost everything. If you like your favorite brand, why invest time in trying to figure out how to switch?
We're not totally locked in, of course. It wasn't too long ago that cake mix was a major innovation. Just a few years ago we needed to make major decisions about which airline was going to be our supplier of frequent flier miles. And today, if you're going to get health care, you've got to make a serious choice. But more often than not, you've already made your decisions and you're quite happy with them.
When was the last time someone launched a major new manufacturer of men's suits? Or a large nationwide chain of department stores? Or a successful new nationwide airline? Or a fast-food franchise? It can be done, certainly, but it doesn't happen very often. One of the reasons it's such a difficult task is that we're pretty satisfied as consumers.
If the deluge of new products ceased tomorrow, almost no one would mind. How much more functional can a T-shirt get? Except for fast-moving industries like computers, the brands we have today are good enough to last us for years and years. Because our needs as consumers are satisfied, we've stopped looking really hard for new solutions.
Yet because of the huge profits that accrue to marketers who do invent a successful new brand, a new killer product, a new category, the consumer is deluged with messages. Because it's not impossible to get you to switch from MCI to Sprint, or from United Airlines to American Airlines, or from Reebok to Nike, marketers keep trying. It's estimated that the average consumer sees about one million marketing messages a year -- about 3,000 a day.
That may seem like a lot, but one trip to the supermarket alone can expose you to more than 10,000 marketing messages! An hour of television might deliver forty or more, while an issue of the newspaper might have as many as one hundred. Add to that all the logos, wallboards, junk mail, catalogs, and unsolicited phone calls you have to process every day, and it's pretty easy to hit that number. A hundred years ago there wasn't even a supermarket, there wasn't a TV show, and there weren't radio stations.

MASS MEDIA IS DEAD. LONG LIVE NICHE MEDIA!
Technology and the marketplace have also brought the consumer a glut of ways to be exposed to advertising. When the FCC ruled the world of television, there were only three networks and a hand...

From AudioFile

The marketing vice president of YAHOO! explains that consumershave learned to ignore traditional media ads, which steal theirattention by being placed in the midst of print or TVentertainment. In permission marketing, the consumer is invited, withincentives, to become engaged with the advertising message. Thisstrategy produces a pool of consumers more likely to buy becausethey've agreed to their involvement, and it's less expensive thanbroadcasting to a wider indifferent audience. The author also has someastute ideas about ad economics and how to measure responses to adcampaigns. A fabulous account of some important marketing ideas.T.W. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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