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Change agent Seth Godin reveals the future
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!