on January 21, 2002
In addition to working in the profession of advertising and marketing, I'm an adjunct professor at a nearby university. I taught Seth's principles in my course on Direct Marketing last semester, and I intend to teach his principles in my course on Fundamentals of Advertising this semester. In fact, I intend to teach his material in every class I have that's even remotely related. Frankly, I think Seth's material should be taught in every university throughout the land -- and shouted from the rooftops amongst those in my profession.
Simply put, the material in this book -- deceptively clever, succinct and, at times, humorous -- is explosive. I say deceptive because if you don't "get" what Seth's trying to tell you, I imagine it would be possible for you to dismiss the entire concept as shallow or gimmicky. However, I believe this information represents nothing less than the future of advertising and marketing. You will ignore it at your own peril.
One of the biggest thrills for me was hearing my students put into use Seth's Permission Marketing phrase "Turning strangers into friends and friends into customers" -- even months after the class ended!
Not only is that a testament to the clarity and brevity of Seth's ideas, it's also the distillation of his book's premise.
For in today's world, we're bombarded by no less than 3,000 paid advertising messages per day. There's no way we can assimilate, remember and act on that many messages. No matter how creative they may be. It's no longer a matter of breaking through the clutter with killer creative; it's now a battle for one of the most precious commodities we're left with: our attention. And advertisers lose that battle every single minute of every day.
Therefore, agencies who seek ever more creative (and expensive!) creative approaches to help boost their clients' sales would do well to read Permission Marketing. Clients who whip their agencies mercilessly, sometimes changing them as often as they change their underwear (because they just aren't seeing the results they expected), would do well to read Seth's Permission Marketing book. BEFORE they blow millions of dollars looking for the next 15-minutes of fame for their advertisement.
Odds are, it ain't gonna happen.
Permission Marketing clearly describes the problem and equally as clearly provides the answer: ask permission first. Then only send your advertisement to those who ask to see it. Reduced to a catchphrase, what you need to do is turn strangers into friends and friends into customers through the power of direct marketing.
Since my field of expertise IS direct marketing, I grasped immediately what Seth was saying. I "got" it. And I know as sure as I know my own name that what he writes is rock-solid, essential information.
The only critical point I'd make is that right now Seth's ideas have a chance to work. And maybe work for a decade or two into the future. But what happens when even those who have given "permission" to receive advertising messages don't have time to read all the messages they've given permission to receive? I'm a great example of that. I've given permission to receive about a dozen online e-newsletters. (In direct marketing parlance, I've "opted in.") However, I simply don't have time to wade through them all. (Truth be told, the only one I read -- and look forward to -- on a regular basis is Seth's.) So not all permission is created equal. I imagine as people get even more busy that even those advertisers with whom they have a relationship will begin to see a drop-off in response.
But until that time, Permission Marketing should be required reading for all university students, direct marketers (who likely already know its simple, yet powerful message), advertisers, marketers and clients.
Once you "get" what Seth is saying, you'll never look at advertising the same way again!
on January 17, 2004
Mr.Godin is an excellent teacher of how to market effectively. Before reading this I thought of marketing probably like most do. I thought to be successful in marketing and advertising, that big was the way to go...big magazine ads, t.v. spots, target a large audience and you're sure to get lots of customers, etc. WRONG!
Mr. Godin hits the bull's-eye on the type of marketing that it takes to acquire and keep customers in your business. It is not mass marketing to anyone and everyone that's going to do it. But rather, Mr. Godin shows you how to set up a specific strategy, a clever method in which to acquire the type of customer you want to your particular business. If you own a sports shop, then your ideal customer wouldn't be a chef or a construction worker who just happened to walk into your store...it would be the die-hard, sports enthusiast that you want to attract. Mr. Godin shows you how to attract your "ideal" customer; He teaches you how to get your ideal customer to come to you.
I didn't fully understand all that "Permission Marketing" was really about until Mr. Godin broke it down and explained it to a tee. If you can get a potential customer to say "yes" to you prior to the sale, your chances of acquiring them as an actual customer dramatically increases. This is what Mr. Godin shows you how to do. He is a wise marketer and you can be too! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
on June 13, 2000
I read fifty or more books a year, one-third of them about marketing. That is what I do for a living. This book is, by far, the worst material I've ever slogged through. This book is 200 pages of poorly supported examples, contradictions, hyperbole, and erroneous conclusions. For example: Ivory soap, made with coconut oil, was a smashing success; coconut oil was in limited supply so Proctor and Gamble scrambled for four years to create a new product that would use MORE coconut oil as a solution to the limited supply problem! Uh, what did I miss?
The book is rife with such statements as: Cadillac buyers being "a tough to reach audience." Ever consider automobile registration data bases? The names and addresses can be had for pennies each. What's "tough to reach" about pennies?
Seth Godin proposes "interruption" marketing is destined for failure. It probably is. He says it doesn't work anymore and that's why American car-makers can't sell cars. Uh. I thought they were selling a lot of them. He says their interruption advertising doesn't work. Americans buy more American-made cars per capita than any nation buys any car per capita. The audience is hooked on new cars. That's a failure?
I am tempted to go on and on with more than one hundred examples of conclusions that are not supported by the facts. I won't. Just one more.
Seth says Internet banners don't work. Okay, I agree. How did Seth build his company, Yoyodyne?
"1. Attract target customers with banner ads promising a great prize. Interested consumers get more information by clicking on the banner, which takes them to a registration page."
And that paragraph (about interruption advertising) is in the chapter on case studies showing how permission marketing works!
The funny thing is that permission marketing works. It's an old concept, been with us for thousands of years. This book presents nothing new, nothing informative, certainly nothing to take back to the office. There is no meat to this sizzle.
Permission Marketing got my permission through my purchase of the book. Seth Godin then abused me for three hours. It's the last time he'll get my permission.
It should be sufficient to say, if you can read, don't bother to read this book.
on July 1, 2002
Everyday your letterbox is full of leaflets you never read, your banker send you a new financial proposal you already have in your portfolio... All these papers will go directly to the trash can, but interrupt your customer's life: time, privacy and peace of mind. This is the waste created by the "interruption marketing", which is not using correctly customers' databases or is bombarding TV spots you do not watch during film breaks.
Is this time over? Not sure when you see all e-mails or phone calls you receive to promote products of no interest for you. How to get your Attention in the middle of this information overload? Simply by asking your permission.
Seth Godin, who created Internet marketer Yoyodyne and sold it in 1998 to Yahoo, where he is a vice president is explaining to us how to do it in "Permission Marketing". With practical examples he shows us how to start a relationship with a customer by offering added value. Main ideas are around personalization, long-term relationship and truth building. Customer then is expecting information from you focused on his own needs. The challenge is to move from market share to customer share.
But how is this possible? The use of New Information Technologies and Internet allows a one to one communication with a customer with focused information and at a low price. This is really the contribution from "New Economy" and Permission Marketing is giving the keys to understand how these New Information Technologies allow focusing on a customer more and more demanding. The traditional marketing is moving quickly to One to One marketing.
Do not read Permission Marketing if you want to lose your customers to the profit of your competitor knowing how to build long-term relationship with them. If you add One to One from Don & Martha Peppers to your readings, you will be well prepared to succeed in front of the marketing shift arriving with the "New Economy".
on December 11, 2001
"Permission marketing , turning strangers into friends and friends into customers" is a challenging concept. Chapter 1 challenges the assumption that customers/potential customers like to be bombarded with intrusive "interuption marketing". We do not like it ourselves, so why should our customers? Chapter 2 has "five steps to dating your customer", all based on value to the customer, and investing in the relationship. You find Godin applying good principles from personal relationships, into relevant lessons for businesses. For a book that takes this further, with some new examples from USA and UK/Europe, check out Cram's "Customers that Count"
Godin's permission marketing thinking applies to Direct Mail, telemarketing and face to face situations. He quotes McD's "Do you want fries with that?" as the most six most profitable permission marketing words in the world. In chapter 9 he applies Permission based marketing to the web and has some good advice. For other books that add value in this area, take a look at Fred.Newell's "Loyalty.com" and Patricia Seybold's "Customer.com"
I also found the evaluation section - Chapter 11 - and the Frequently asked questions in Chapter 12 useful. On page 239/40 of my edition there is a simple but compelling checklist of 12 things to do to put Permission marketing into practice. That is the essence of the book, and I recommend it to you
on December 10, 2001
Unlike the Cluetrain authors and Douglas Coupland, Godin is neither angry nor sarcastic, but his now-classic text has made him into one of the leading prophets of the obsolescence of traditional ("interruption-based") big-company marketing methods. The way he tells it, a near-total rejection of modern advertising orthodoxy is only common sense. Godin dismisses the history of advertising from the 1950's to the 1980's with a wave of his hand, arguing that too much of a good thing (easy access to consumers' minds) has left too many messages clamoring for customers' attention. Consumers' retaliatory defence mechanisms are now a permanent condition of the marketplace. Companies cannot penetrate this armor with catchier jingles or increasingly intrusive pitches; instead, they need to build long-term relationships with their customers. As his chronicle of the rise and fall of interruption marketing gathers steam, the reader finds himself nodding his head at every horrifying example of intrusive advertising.
Like Cluetrain, Permission Marketing begins from the premise that corporations need to understand how people actually live. Above all, we're busy. We have heard it all. We have caller ID, mute buttons, and a million other devices intended to shelter us from the cacaphony.
The opposite of interruption marketing, of course, is marketing to consumers who have explicitly given their permission to be contacted. Since Godin lays out a number of highly original and ground-breaking ideas, many of which foreshadowed the huge boom in the development of opt-in email lists, those who do any kind of e-mail marketing will be on shaky ground unless they've read Godin.
Unfortunately, the manner in which corporations have interpreted the idea of permission-based marketing boils down to a heavy dose of email to their customers, email which often violates Godin's stipulations that communications should be personal, anticipated, and relevant.
Godin is willing to take his share of the blame for how the promise of permission marketing got distorted, and turned our email inboxes into battlegrounds ("Permission Marketers: Did We Blow It?"). Arguably, the problem lies to some extent in the lack of plausibility of Godin's original formulation of the concept and principles of permission. His indictment of intrusive mass marketing is unimpeachable, but there is an over-optimism on the permission marketing side of the argument. Consumers don't give so-called permission nearly as cheerfully as Godin's original argument let on. Yahoo, which had hired Godin for a brief period to be its VP of Permission Marketing, is now learning that it's easier to theorize about securing customers' permission than it is to actually do it.
The failure of companies like Yahoo! to profitably implement these principles, and the relative success of "club 'em over the head" methods employed by their competitor AOL, seem to be cause for despair. Surely, if any of this stuff is true, companies like AOL would crumble as consumers tuned out the noise. So far, that hasn't happened. Good old interruption marketing lives on. To millions of viewers, the commercials during the Super Bowl are not an intrusion, they're "destination television." Maybe what Godin has discovered is not a universal principle of the advertising business, but rather the fact that those residing in higher socioeconomic strata have more options for tuning out the noise, and more cultural and professional motivations for doing so. If that's all it is, it's still an important contribution, since many businesses - especially those in the technology industry - market to a more upscale demographic.
Ultimately, Godin's approach can explain some things, but he fails to acknowledge the continued success of major brands like Budweiser and Gillette, who have continued to win the battle to stay first in the mind of their mass market. If Godin had to do it all over again, Permission Marketing might have done well to bill itself as a manual for marketing to highly discerning professionals in a B2B environment, and how to break through to "opinion leaders" and journalists as opposed to customers per se. But then again, that more specialized focus would have prevented the book from becoming a bestseller.
on September 30, 2001
If you are in the marketing field I believe Seth Godin is a guy who knows his stuff. He and Jay Abraham are gurus on the subject. His books are normally very timely and his more recent book, Unleasing the IdeaVirus (a book on viral marketing), builds upon what he writes in this book. I have also read Kim McPherson's Permission based E-mail marketing that Works! While both are excellent books about the subject I believe Mr. Godin goes into more depth about why current marketing efforts are becoming inefficient and how the Internet can change the overall efficiency of marketing through better targeting and lower cost delivery (e-mail). I believe he understands the big picture better than most.
I am trying to continue my reading on e-mail marketing before launching my e-business and I have found Mr. Godin's books to be very easy to read and have me saying "That's why so and so does this and that...."
Conclusion: A must read, definitely worth the money.
Anyone that is interested in marketing should also look into Robert Cialdini's Influence, and The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Reis and Jack Trout. I would also read one or two books on viral marketing. Mr. Godin's unleashing the ideavirus is the best that I have read and I have heard good things about Anatomy of a Buzz by Emmanual Rosen. I have read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and thought it wasn't as well written as Mr. Godin's book.
on April 23, 2001
Imagine how effective your marketing would be if you had individual relationships with all of your customers and each had agreed to receive your company's advertising, either because they want the information or because they've been tempted by an incentive. Author Seth Godin makes this connection real, with the help of technology and he says you can do it, too. Godin argues that individualized "permission marketing" can break through the increasing clutter of traditional advertising, which he dubs "interruption marketing." The Internet is ideally suited to building this one-to-one relationship, he says. His engaging book provides a powerful case for this approach to marketing, which begins with getting the customer's consent to receive frequent messages. Godin combines a historical overview and a discussion of advertising's principles with a description of hands-on methods. We [...] recommend his highly accessible book to marketing executives in any industry and especially to managers of Internet-dependent businesses.
on February 16, 2001
Imagine how effective your marketing would be if you had individual relationships with all of your customers and each had agreed to receive your company's advertising, either because they want the information or because they've been tempted by an incentive. Author Seth Godin makes this connection real, with the help of technology and he says you can do it, too. Godin argues that individualized "permission marketing" can break through the increasing clutter of traditional advertising, which he dubs "interruption marketing." The Internet is ideally suited to building this one-to-one relationship, he says. His engaging book provides a powerful case for this approach to marketing, which begins with getting the customer's consent to receive frequent messages. Godin combines a historical overview and a discussion of advertising's principles with a description of hands-on methods. We at getAbstract.com recommend his highly accessible book to marketing executives in any industry and especially to managers of Internet-dependent businesses.
on December 20, 2000
I like the book. Seth Gordon gives the procedure for a new way of marketing: Permission Marketing. Main idea is to convince the customers in order to give you permission to contact her. First, you should sell her the next meeting. In the next meeting you have to sell one more. This is great. I mean, if customer gives you permission to go further, you have the right to contact her in future for mutual profit and interest. This would be best for the marketer and the customer. Seth Gordon says that "Permission marketer is a farmer". Permission marketer should buy the seeds, find a land, plant the seed, water them continuously for seasons, watch them grow, and finally harvest. Permission marketing may be the hardest way for marketers, but it is a joy both for the customer and for the marketer. This book does not promise a magic wand for marketers, but introduces the basic ideas of getting permission from customers with examples. It has the feeling of a case study. You will enjoy.