Defining permission marketing
Permission marketing is based on customers' anticipation, personalization, and relevancy to build lasting customer relationships, and lead successful campaigns through utilizing customers' consent. The concept was introduced by Seth Godin, who discovered that successful marketing campaigns succeed because of seeking customer's consent. As a non-traditional marketing approach (opposed to direct or interruption marketing) it contributes vitally to your overall brand image.
On the contrary, interruption marketing is a well-known and heavily practiced type of marketing messaging that customers did not ask to receive. With new privacy laws it is now being pushed back, however, there are still some popular examples such as radio ads, video ads, billboards, flyers, that might be disturbing to the customers. This approach is quick, can target large audiences at once, and can be a fast way to increase temporary sales, yet it is perceived too pushy and the retention is quite low. On the other hand, permission marketing is respectful toward the customer’s privacy, emphasizing the relationship value.
Benefits of permission marketing
Permission marketing, in its true application, provides more benefits than one might think. Targeting only interested groups of customers lowers marketing costs, boosts the engagement, and subsequently increases conversion rates, hence not wasting resources on those, who find their interest elsewhere, or prefer different offers. Besides, it also demonstrates an ethical form of marketing. Thus it mostly helps to build lasting relationships based on trust, resulting in positive customer lifetime value.
The main benefits of actively using consent management are:
- Visibility to interested groups, right audience
- Increased customer engagement
- Growing conversion rates
- Increased retention and loyalty
- Strong relationships built on trust
- Better customers lifetime value
Customers’ intent is an opportunity
Many companies have already adopted, or at least tried, some form of permission marketing. Since the enforcement of various data privacy regulations, e.g. GDPR or CCPA, companies are now obliged to ask permission to use their customers' data, respect their privacy while using the data, and extend the right to opt-out. When the regulations were introduced, the majority of the organizations perceived them as an unnecessary business obstacle, excessive costs, something that would decelerate their marketing and communication efforts. Choosing to look at it as a threat, is a wasted opportunity. In our experience, changing the perception and incorporating permission marketing into marketing activities is much more beneficial than only being aligned with the law without further thinking.
Leveraging, what customers have to say about their interests, is a competitive advantage in every industry, especially in such an oversaturated market of online shopping. However, there is much more to it than just choosing yes or no.
The key is to present more granular choices of opting-in. From the customer point of view, having only two extreme options might invoke the negative one in order to avoid constant marketing 'invasion' from all sides. Eventually causing a lose-lose scenario. Whereas being able to choose, for example, channels, frequency, and specific offers will ease the pressure, in addition to helping them find what they really want.
Let your customers know that you care
The results from our research uncover that customers prefer to have control over the settings, be able to choose what they want to be communicated and how often. The customers appreciate being asked about their interests. It demonstrates that the company notices them as individuals and care for them. Just the question itself increases the probability of the purchase, for example, when asking a customer if they plan to buy a car, instead of not asking it. Continually working with their preferences, being able to detect when it changes, and immediately considering it, positively impact their attitude toward the brand and the company. The initial investment is small compared to the overall increased revenues. The outcome can be visible soon after the first steps, whereas the effect is long-term.
Permission marketing best practices
One of the first steps toward effective permission marketing is transparency and clear communication. Let your customers know how and where they can consent or opt out when they change their preferences.
Tell them your intentions upfront
Customers will appreciate knowing, how often you will contact them, what topics you will present. It helps them decide what is relevant and what they like.
Let the customer choose the right option or the combination of marketing communication, for example weekly or bi-weekly. They might feel overwhelmed or want to be contacted differently, they may change their preferences, and providing them with space where they can do so helps the business to target the relevant audience and the customers to find what they need.
Although permission marketing seems easy, setting it up correctly and harvesting the most out of it from the beginning can be quite challenging. The crucial part of the process is collecting the necessary permissions via marketing automation. However, the differentiation lays in managing it all effectively.
Permission marketing brings many benefits not only to the customers but it certainly strengthens the relationships between them and the brand. Implementing this approach ensures customer loyalty and increases customer lifetime value. Privacy is not a threat, it is an opportunity to get to know your audience better and deliver relevant content with appreciated communication.
The good news is you do not have to tackle it by yourself. We have solved many similar problems for our clients by implementing Wecoma, our Web Consent Management product, which is principally developed to adjust the company's permission settings. Wecoma creates new opportunities for marketing strategy. This product advances not only web marketing, but also emailing, mails, text messages, and other forms of communication.