permission marketing

上一代嘅成功方程式,就係大量生產(mass production),然後買大量電視廣告(mass media),將呢啲大眾產品(mass product)推銷俾大部份嘅普羅大眾(mass market),可惜,呢條完美方程式嘅效率已經今非昔比,點解?首先,Target Mass Market嘅產品多咗數百倍,而為咗推廣呢啲Mass Product嘅廣告亦自然地比以前多咗、密咗、煩咗,仲可以話係無處不在(連廁所尿兜裹面都時常見到!),久而久之,適應力特強嘅香港人對呢啲Mass Media Promotion嘅免疫力亦都比以前強咗百倍;換言之,我地本能地對呢啲「干擾」性嘅廣告視而不見、聽而不聞。


On most of the signup pages for newsletter or membership, you would see a check box for you to decide if you want to receive future email information about the company or products. Some of them are default to yes and users have to click “no” to opt out of receiving emails. You cost me my time and risk annoying me.

Opt out = junk mail / spam

Another example, when you sign up for netvigator broadband, the sales person will convince you to take some free trial services for 2 months, i didn’t want it but he insisted so i said ok do whatever you want. Then 2 months later, they started charging me for the extra services that i didn’t want and didn’t use, they said i had to contact them to cancel the service. I complained and they waived the charges, the decision was made in an instance, they probably get the same complaints a lot.

Why do they keep pissing off their new customers like that? Instead, why don’t you offer the 2 months free trail and then have the same sales person to follow up after 2 months and ask if i want to continue the services and start paying for them?

Just remember this rather inspiring conversation with a cab driver on my way to the airport about the year of the ox.

He thinks it should be called the year of the cow as it sounds more gentle. And I think it should be named the year of the bull, he thinks it sounds too threathening and reminds people of the economic crisis.

But the term “crisis” in Chinese is a combination of the characters of “danger” and “opportunity”, sounds rather exciting to me.

Everyone in the 4As advertising industry is panicking, but now that clients have less money to spend on TVC, outdoor and print ads, they turn to us for digital, viral and word of mouth campaigns that deliver measurable results.

Businesses also realize that only their loyal customers and fans are still spending on them, we help them formulate permission based marketing strategies and build, feed and nuture their tribes, allowing them to find and build products for their customers instead of finding customers for their products.

We put up with TV commerical ads because we had no choice. But now i watch video clips on Youtube. I flipped through the print ads on magazines and newspaper in order for me to get to the articles i wanted to read. But now i read the content online or subscribe to the RSS feeds. We now have alternative ways to gain access to information and entertainment without seeing the ads.

We now see more ads than ever, there’s so much advertising everywhere we go and look that our brains have learnt to filter out these ads automatically, we are now able to ignore them without trying to.

More mass products are being introduced to the mass market, more mass media ads are being produced and more new interruption based media channels are emerging. But the more they spend, the less it works. The less it works, the more they spend.

So my answer to this subject is no. But the smart marketers recognize that the traditional approach of mass media advertising is much less effective in this digital age and they now focus their resources on permission based marketing approaches that offer much higher return on investment.

You have my email doesn’t mean you should spam me, you have my number doesn’t mean you should cold call or sms me. You have me watching your free TV channels doesn’t mean i have to watch your commercial ads. I bought your magazine for the articles and your newspaper for the news, not to read your print ads.

Even if I wanted to hear from you before or i didn’t complain before doesn’t mean you have the right to talk to me now.

Either I want to hear from you or i don’t. Either you have my permission or you are interrupting me. But it seems like the more i ignore you the more you try to show up in my face, when i see your ads appearing down the urinals while i’m minding my own business or when you install a tv on the bus to sell me something while i’m trying to take a nap makes me feel like you are stalking me.

Seth wrote the book Permission Marketing in 1999. Below is the key takeaway:

Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.

It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.

Pay attention is a key phrase here, because permission marketers understand that when someone chooses to pay attention they are actually paying you with something precious. And there’s no way they can get their attention back if they change their mind. Attention becomes an important asset, something to be valued, not wasted.

Its been 10 years and most brands are still spending millions of dollars to stalk me instead of earning the privilege to my attention.