Thoughts on Permission-based Marketing

Recently I posted on Facebook because I was annoyed at a clumsy series of attempts to get me involved with their brand on different social media channels. A friend asked me what I found so offensive, and this caused me to think about it for a few days.

The common thread here is that when I engaged with the company, they didn’t give me anything but asked me for something more. Here’s what happened. Pay attention: forms of the verb “to give” have been boldfaced.

  1. I made a purchase and was so pleased with the service that I emailed the company’s management, giving the employee who helped me a compliment.
  2. A week later, I got an email signed by a company manager, inviting me to take a survey about my experience. This was a little bit jarring (didn’t they read my email?) but understandable — they probably didn’t record my email in a CRM that was linked to their marketing database. I skipped filling out the survey, because I’d already given the company my feedback.
  3. Another week went by, and I got an email asking if I had forgotten to fill out the survey. What’s the problem here? I’ve already made my purchase – my transaction is completed. I don’t owe you anything more. However, to be nice, I spent the time to give the company the answers they were asking for.
  4. At the end of the survey I was invited to subscribe to the company’s emails to receive future promotional offers. I was starting to get a little bit overwhelmed by all these requests, but I thought I could use a deal on a future purchase, so I gave them my email address (again) and gave them permission to send emails to me.
  5. Almost immediately, I received an automated email from the same company manager inviting me to like the company’s page on Facebook.

This sequence is a perfect example of ‘lead nurturing’ or ‘drip marketing’ gone wrong. At the end of it I felt as if I had been wooed by some desperate social media manager with bad breath. I was tempted to unsubscribe from their email list and I certainly wasn’t going to give them permission to bombard my Facebook page with requests to follow them on Twitter.

Try thinking about your marketing in this way. If you regard every interaction as a transaction, what are you getting from the interaction? What is your customer or prospect getting? Permission-based marketing, like other social interactions, should be a series of give-and-take. If the “giving” is all on one side, you’re not really wooing your prospect or customer – you’re, uh, bothering her.


One thought on “Thoughts on Permission-based Marketing

  1. “I felt as if I had been wooed by some desperate social media manager with bad breath.” Thank you for the elaboration and this line in particular (smile)… CC

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