End of the conventional “Permission Marketing”

When talking about permission marketing, Seth Godin said “Marketing experts should take permission from customers to proceed over the sales processes. They should definitely ask customers’ permission before sending them press releases or catalogue via e-mail.” Aside from foreseeing that the internet would dominate the world, he predicted “To sell something to a consumer, it will be necessary to have his permission”, and suggested that a marketer should ask “Shall we send you a message to promote maternity dress?” as an example.

Before the phase of internet called 2.0 was begun, these statements were true in 1999, when the book Permission Marketing was published. To gain information, you had to ask customers, ask them to fill forms and surveys. The concept “Don’t send messages to your customer, who has shared so much information about themselves, before getting his permission” was really effective and necessary for the time’s marketing mentality.

Considering the fact that despite more than 10 years passed especially GSM operators, banks and deal-of-the-day web sites have not reached that level yet, and they offer us products and services we will never use via SMS and e-mail all the time; you have to acknowledge that Seth Godin was right.

If we leave the outdated companies aside, who offer shampoo to a bald man, hair-removing stuff to Uncle Jack, ‘original’ pink face mask to a macho man, paragliding to my grandma, and take the enterprises that follow the day and even have the vision for the future in hand; we need to redefine the permission concept.

It is hard to call a potential customer in business life. You can’t call him asking “Do you think we have a chance to do business together?” If you insist on calling him after hearing ‘No’ as an answer 3 or 4 times in a row, it means you are executing harassment marketing not permission marketing. They don’t take your calls any more; they don’t answer your messages. Sales people love meaningful “reason to call” to get in contact with customers that stop them from being annoyed and draw their attention. After a solid reason to get in touch with the customer is given, turning the meeting into a sales deal is up to sales people’s personal talents.

Now, there is no need to ask customers their contact info. They already share it with everyone on social media.

If they are taking a vacation, where they are going, whether it’s a business or touristic vacation, whether they are at the airport or waiting lounge at the bus terminal, whether they have arrived at his destination, how the vacation is going, how the weather is, how they feel… If they are looking for a house, what neighborhoods they prefer, how much they are willing to pay, how many bedrooms they want, their new roommate… How their grades are, the date and subject of their exam, how it went, what grade they are expecting and what they got, their graduation date, where and how they are going to celebrate it… What sports they are into, when they started keeping a diet and when they quit, how much weight they lost, what kind of food they like, which ones of them they know how to cook and the level of their capability… Where they went on military duty, what kind of situations they came across during their duty… If they are sick, have an accident, how they are affected by it, their injuries, doctor’s intervention, how long the operation lasted, and the time of recovery… If they feel angry, happy, tired, excited, restless, negative, cheerful… If they are getting engaged, are engaged, getting married, married, pregnant, the gender of the unborn baby, the baby’s name, if the baby’s born or not, the baby’s nutrition and sleeping problems, the baby’s first steps, first sentences, birthdays…

They give all the information. Even if we have never met them, we feel like we have known them for a long time. Take a look at all the data listed above. No matter what kind of industry you work for, you can find a ‘reason to get in contact with customers’ to propose them a meaningful offer.

Here is the good part: The customers do not raise an objection when they receive an offer that they can benefit from. They don’t ask the question “How did you get my e-mail address?” as long as it’s a meaningful and steady message. This is very important. At this point, there is no need to ask permission to get the info, they share it with everyone .

Is it enough to know everything about the customers? Of course not. As marketers, we have been executing similar projects for years anyway. We give quite a bit of information to GSM operators, banks and promotion web sites, which I find outdated in terms of marketing communication. We inform them of where we live, where and when we shop, what we are looking for, who/what we are following, what we buy, what our weekly/monthly transactions are, what kind of promotions we go after, which ones we are not interested in at all, and thousands of similar details. They don’t need to look for this data on social medium. It is already in their data bank.

You need to be prepared about what service/product in what situations you should offer. For this, you need to know for how long he is using which products of yours. That is, you need to link customers to your own product and services. Product usage path that is first deepened on segment level and then to customer level, should be ready beforehand in order to offer the next product that he will like most rather than to offer a product the customer is already using, and in order.

You don’t need to ask permission before making an offer. However, if you make a nonsense offer, it’s a matter of time you would be blocked and never be able to make an offer again. That’s how permission marketing is changing. You don’t need to get permission. Customers already shared about it to everyone. But if you do wrong for once, they block you. Even if they share with everyone, they make sure you never see or hear them.

You should already have a CRM infra-sturcture so that you can have a chance to benefit from the data in social media and develop a profitable relationship.

You also should be able to fit the offer with the person’s mood, his whereabouts and the action he is or will be on, unlike GSM operators, banks and deal-of-the-day web sites, who make their offer randomly. If he has stated that he is angry, unhappy or negative, and you are not his cure; you should not make any offer at that time.

To sum, “There is no Social CRM without CRM.”

This article first published on Customer Think at August 19, 2011