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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.