Seth Godin, one of the world's foremost online promoters, offers his best advice for advertising in Permission Marketing
. Godin argues that businesses can no longer rely solely on traditional forms of "interruption advertising" in magazines, mailings, or radio and television commercials. He writes that today consumers are bombarded by marketing messages almost everywhere they go. If you want to grab someone's attention, you first need to get his or her permission with some kind of bait--a free sample, a big discount, a contest, an 800 number, or even just an opinion survey. Once a customer volunteers his or her time, you're on your way to establishing a long-term relationship and making a sale. "By talking only to volunteers, Permission Marketing guarantees that consumers pay more attention to the marketing message," he writes. "It serves both customers and marketers in a symbiotic exchange."
Godin knows his stuff. He created Internet marketer Yoyodyne and sold it in 1998 to Yahoo!, where he is a vice president. Godin delves into the strategies of several companies that successfully practice permission marketing, including Amazon.com, American Airlines, Bell Atlantic, and American Express. Permission marketing works best on the Internet, he writes, because the medium eliminates costs such as envelopes, printing, and stamps. Instead of advertising with a plain banner ad on the Internet, you should focus on discovering the customer's problem and getting permission to follow up with e-mail, he writes. Permission Marketing is an important and valuable book for businesses seeking better results from their advertising. --Dan Ring