Saturday, November 17, 2007

Permission Marketing, by Seth Godin

Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers, by Seth Godin

The basic premise of this book is that as Americans become increasingly inured to advertising, companies are going to be forced to changed their marketing tactics to get our attention. Godin calls the techniques that are commonly used today (telemarketing, commercials, ...) Interruption Marketing and holds that it is ineffective. Permission Marketing is the answer: offering incentives to get customers to voluntarily accept advertising. Not being a huge fan of advertising myself, I found the idea on its face to be nonintuitive. Godin does a good job of explaining the benefits, though, and by the end I was persuaded to his view of the world.

As with most business books today, this one is filled with illustrative examples. Most of these are used to great effect, such as tracking customer visits and purchases in order to provide ads and suggestions that are targeted at the individual and thus more likely to result in additional sales. Some of the examples, though, are dated enough to jar the reader out of the flow. It has been a long time since Alta Vista was the most visited search engine on the Internet, and a personal services company named Streamline is touted as being on the verge of huge success due to its marketing strategy although they shut their doors about a year after the book was published. Not hugely distracting, but it did clearly illustrate that the book is nearly a decade old.

First Sentence:
It’s not your fault.

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