The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email
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Trend: Permission Equals Performance.

Consumers now demand a greater sense of control over their relationship with a brand. Email marketers specifically have had great success creating this relationship via explicit and documented permission-based marketing. A recent eMarketer article noted that as a result of permission,“consumers are more open to email messaging than most other digital marketing.” In fact, it is the trust and ease of control that comes with this approach that has made consumers more open to further communication.

The permission-based marketing trend has proven effective and fruitful in the email community and will soon make its way into the structure of all other digital marketing. Marketers, having seen emails’ success, will tackle this change by providing their customers with detailed, open and explicit permission programs.

Takeaway: Prepare for a permission-based culture.

There is no question that permission in email marketing is essential. However, ALL digital marketers must be aware that permission-based advertising will eventually affect their brand. There has been a shift in technology that now gives the consumer greater power to demand permission from brands. Now is the time to prepare your strategy for this shift.

This trend has a strong connection to an analogy I’ve seen explained recently: Imagine you’re at a party. You spot someone who you think is a mutual friend. You start waving and shouting across the crowded room to this person. As it turns out, you have met this person, but they do not remember you at all. They return your shouts with a perplexed stare. How embarrassing! This same analogy can be applied to permission-based marketing vs. unsolicited contact across any digital channel, be it email, social media or mobile. It is both counterproductive and against best practices to communicate with people who don’t acknowledge a relationship with you. If marketers ignore this and fail to gain permission, the customers they contact will surely be surprised, and will most likely be annoyed by the communication. This misstep will automatically place a negative connotation on your brand.

How To: Brands will earn permission by enticing their customers with value.

As consumer culture evolves toward permission for digital channels, marketers will need to adapt accordingly. Email marketers in particular have found success by fulfilling consumers desire to be incentivized and feel in control of the relationship they have with a brand. In addition, much as email marketing utilizes preference pages to give customers options, this model will become the norm as companies will see the need for dedicated permission centers regardless of the digital channel used. If your brand is going to survive this shift, you will have to formulate your own version (no matter what channel) of an explicit, customer-centric permission system. As a general rule, position your brand in such a way that highlights its value to your customers. Success will come when the customer believes they are truly gaining something from allowing communication from your brand. Also, the more explicit and flexible your plan, the more comfortable your customers will be.

A summarized punch list for nailing an effective permissions system:

  • Permission will be explicit rather than implicit.
  • Documentation of how and when permission was given.
  • Entice permission with value (show value upfront).
  • Use value to EARN this permission. It should not be DEMANDED of the customer.
  • Permission is not all encompassing: Just because a customer gave permission for one type of communication, does not mean they are giving permission for everything.


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