September 7, 2010

May I have your permission please (2)

Let's continue with the four conventions of permission marketing:

1. Prospects have to give you permission to approach them. If not, you should not approach them as it can reduce your goodwill.

2. Permission is definitely selfish, realize that! Your prospect will mostly give you permit to approach them only if they are able to identify a reward or benefit in your offering.

3. Permission should be unsubscribed anytime the prospect wishes. You should provide them with the unsubscribe option but, if you have done your homework correctly there can be no going wrong.

4. Permission should not be transferred. You cannot exchange the permit with another person. It means that you only send an offer through e-mail to leads who really want you to send them though they have varying degrees of interest in your products. Maintaining the highest ethical standards in such a relation is very necessary.
Consider this I went to a book store’s annual sale last year and purchased some books worth a certain amount. The attendant, while preparing the invoice pushed a feedback form towards me and asked me to fill it with all my details intact. I did so and this year I got an invite for this year’s sale alongwith a discount voucher for certain category of books. Apart from this, their monthly newsletter also reaches my place without failure and I get to read reviews of the new best-sellers before deciding to buy them.
One of my friends, who is a shopaholic, is a frequent denizen of a leading retail chain. The first time she went there to shop for clothes and accessories, she was told about their program to become a lifetime member for free. This ensured she would not only accumulate points for her purchases and redeem them later but also be informed about discount sales, bargain deals and partner events well in advance than non-members. Well there’s nothing such as a free lunch as the popular saying goes and she does get an e-mail every week about the new fashion products in store and the special prices put up for members.
Getting the attention of the people is the challenge and permission marketing doesn’t quite do away with it. Converting that one brief moment of attention that you generate form an individual into a mutually beneficial relationship is what permission marketing looks at. Mostly people have to know what is in it for them to invest their most important resource in, i.e. time. Money, ofcourse is not so important so long as the segmentation is wise. Signing up for lottery online means you part away  with your personal details, the chances of winning the lottery are rare but the chances of getting your inbox flooded are huge. The reward at the end is enticement enough for an individual to participate in the lottery and expose himself to the marketers.
From the marketer’s perspective, the main advantage is both on the cost and time aspect. The cost for approaching the prospect online and even gaining his feedback is almost nil, thanks to e-mail. Even if you approach thirty individuals of which only five become your consumers, the cost of knowing why the other twenty-five did not is the same as approaching them, i.e. zero. E-mail being the quickest mode of communication also saves a lot of time meaning that the marketer can follow up with the prospect continuously. And that’s the important lesson, to change the prospect’s behavior; you have to talk to them over and over again. In time, another batch of five prospects would be converted into your consumers.
If you are interested in a hobby like writing and you have signed up on various forums, become a member of popular websites for writers, downloaded a comprehensive editing software online and signed up on portals offering your services as a writer, there is no doubt in my mind that half the mails that hit your inbox or the newsletters that reach your address are of products that are some way or the other associated with your hobby. This is because you have ‘volunteered’ to make yourself available for such products and services by expressing your interest in writing. So automatically, the observation network of similar companies takes you into consideration as a prospect and the very next day you are hit by a flurry of mails from another writing software that promises better results at a lesser price.
The evaluation of the marketing efforts also changes as companies don’t just evaluate on rating scales and TRPs but also on the number of people who have ‘volunteered’ themselves for their marketing efforts. Permission marketing is both entertaining and educating, giving companies a chance to learn more about their prospects and the individuals a chance to know more about the products and companies that they would be interested in.
In the words of Seth Godin permission marketing’s main focus is on, "turning strangers into friends, and friends into customers."Permission marketing might not be a foolproof solution towards faulty marketing practices but it surely is a way around that looks at getting the best for the parties involved. The appeal surrounding permission marketing might not be as great as the attention given to interruption marketing but when it comes to relationship handling in this era of CRM practices, permission marketing is definitely the order of the day!

With hugs and kisses to the Consumer,
The Young Marketer.

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