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Permission Marketing – From strangers to friends. From friends to customers.

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Seth Godin, a very famous entrepreneur, author and public speaker (I’m sure you know him, if you don’t, please google), wrote Permission Marketing in 1999. Even though it’s not a new book, its principles are still considered essential for any marketeer. Here I’ll sum up some of ideas Seth put on the book.

Interruption Marketing

Did you remember when we used to have only five channels on TV? Everyone was part of the same community, watched the same commercials, discussed the same programs and bought the same type of things. This made it all easier for marketeers, they basically relied exclusively on one type of advertising, which Seth calls – Interruption Marketing. This is defined by “the science of creating and placing media that interrupts the consumer and then gets him or her to take some action”. This used to work in a world where the audience wasn’t as segment, people nowadays don’t care as much as they used to.

From Mass to Niche – The evolution

Companies have noticed that mass market strategy isn’t working as well as it used to. They’ve tried to overcome this by spending more advertising in odd places, such as ads on parking meters, floor of the supermarket aisle, etc. Another technique used was making ads more controversial and entertainment, and changing those ads more often in order to keep them interesting and fresh. The last approach was to abandon ads and replace them with direct email and promotions.

Although this worked for a while, interruption marketing still fails because it is unable to get enough attention from consumers.

Permission Marketing

Different from a mass marketing approach, “permission marketing encourages consumers to participate in a long-term, interactive marketing campaign in which they are rewarded in some way for paying attention to increasingly relevant messages”.

Most of us understand now that targeting customers individually isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Staff and budget doesn’t have to be that huge. “Permission marketing takes the cost of interrupting the consumer and spreads it out, over not one message, but dozens of messages”. Interruption marketers are all about spending money with strangers, people they don’t know but assume might be potential customers. Permission marketers think this is too risky, and it doesn’t drive as much result. Instead, they “move as quickly as they can to turn strangers into prospects who choose to opt-in to series of commutations”. You create a relationship with consumers since the beginning, and motivate the consumer to five more and more permission over time.

The Pros and Cons

Permission marketing campaigns require patience. You need to believe in the concept, growing it over time. Even a not very good interruption marketing campaign gets instant results, while permission campaigns take longer, they are build a stronger relationship and are easier to measure.

Getting a new customer is expensive, you need to get his attention and educate him about your business. If you think about it, it’s also expensive for the customer, who has to learn and evaluate the benefits and features of a product he does not know. Permission marketing, instead of focusing on getting new customers, it’s all about keeping customers longer and getting more money from each of them over time.

The New Process

Seth says the process of getting new customers needs to be reengineered. Some of the marketers “don’t notice, track or interact with people until they are a customer. And some don’t even pay close attention until the consumer becomes a loyal customer”. It looks simple, but it’s essential to look at it like this if you want to create meaningful relationships and long term customers. It’s necessary to nurture strangers from the moment they indicated interest in your business.

Strangers – Friends – Customers – Loyal Customers – Former Customers

But remember, you can’t build a one to one relationship with a customer unless he explicitly agrees to it. Similar thing happens when you have a current customer which is not inside this process, which doesn’t mean quality for the future of business. You might think about firing him! I know this sounds harsh, but Seth’s got a point. “A customer that distracts you, or one that cherry picks your line of products, or one that requires a disproportionate percentage of your company’s time and resources, is going to cost you money”.


Written by Cristina Dresch

June 24, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Posted in Marketing, Media, Strategy

The Replacement Habit

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I’m tired. Everyone keeps saying that books, magazines and newspaper are going to die. Can we STOP with this replacement habit?

If we look back, people used to say TV would kill cinema. Well, I still watch TV everyday and love to go to the cinema on weekends. We managed to keep both. Why? Because they are not the same thing. Each media has its own beauty. I turn the TV on, but I’m not always watching it. When I go to the cinema, I’m focused. Totally different feelings.

Photography didn’t kill paintings. Cinema didn’t kill books. TV didn’t kill cinema. And the web will not kill everything else!

It’s not about replacement, it’s about addition.

P.S. Can you figure out what are the medias in the image above? I know it’s not too easy, but I must say, this actually looks better than I thought it would. I definitely can’t draw, but illustrator helped a bit :)

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 24, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Media

My Media Consumption

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I’m sure we’ve all been overwhelmed with information in the last years. Specially for us, who always need to keep updated with the latest information. One day without looking at the news, and we might have missed big time.

Have you ever thought about all the different medias we consume a day?

My day usually happens like this…

  • TV during breakfast. (Yes, you read that right, T-V. I still can’t live without it)
  • Mobile on the bus. (Mainly catching up with emails and Facebook)
  • RSS feed on the tube. (Tip – If you open your RSS when you have internet connection, you can still read everything it has downloaded when you don’t have connection anymore)
  • Web. (That happens for about 9 hours a day, at least)
  • Angry birds / Newspaper. (When I’m on the tube back home, I usually play angry birds on my phone. If I find a lost newspaper, I might read that too)
  • Mobile on the bus. (Mainly catching up with emails and Facebook)
  • Web and TV. (Usually, both at the same time)

So let’s say, I’m probably an average user according to my media consumption. I don’t own a kindle or an iPad. I mainly keep things between my mobile, my notebook (which I can say, is my best friend ♥) and my TV. And sure, it’s not unusual for me to use all three at the same.

Free VS Paid

I usually pay for things I have to. If I don’t, I won’t. I obviously pay for my internet connection, both at home and in my mobile. But other than that, I keep things free. I thought that since I’m young and don’t earn a lot of money, that would be the reason why. But not really. It’s more about personality, than anything else.

The news

First of all, what do we mean by news? Let’s break it down, so it makes more sense. It’s going to be interesting to look at this list in six months time, and see if my resources are still the same.

General News
Facebook (Social)
Twitter (Social + Industry)
Linkedin Today (Industry)
Digital industry & media news (B2B)
Google RSS +50 blogs (aggregator)
– Mashable
– Hubspot
– Social Media Explorer
– Social Times
– The next web
– All Facebook
– Chris Brogan
– Brian Solis
Entertainment (B2C)
Channel 4
Shopping (B2C)


This was more like a personal exercise than anything else. But I’d urge you to it, it will be interesting to look at it in 6 or 12 months time and see if any has changed (I bet it will). I’ll leave you with a quote, presented to us in class by our professor Tim Tucker:

‘Good technologies don’t eradicate earlier good technologies. They overlap with them—or morph, so that the old and the new may persist alongside yet another development. Think Post-its, printed books, PC’s, and iPads, all in the same office cubicle.’ William Germano, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 16, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Posted in Media

Digital disruption and its effect on media

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First, videogames. Then, computers. Hm, mobile? And finally, the internet. Maybe in another order for some, but that’s how the digital world was unraveled for most.

The evolution of interaction

It started when you as a kid, or maybe your child if you’re in your late 40s (busted!), couldn’t get out of the room and stop playing your videogame. It was similar to the television, but now instead of just sitting on your coach, you could have some real interaction. How cool is that? Even more addictive. Then we moved on for computers. Now instead of only having one control remote, you’ve got two. The mouse and the keyboard! Uh, you actually need to control two objects at the same time now. But why is that? Because we need more and faster interaction with the machine.

The telephone is very old, first invented by 1850!,  but it’s all about interaction. What about the mobile? We couldn’t live with the thought of not being able to communicate with other people at anytime, anywhere. So we decided to create portable phone, which you could carry with you to your job, dinners, parties. We can say the mobile was created by the need of (more) interaction.


The internet. How fun is the computer if you’re the only one there? The internet enabled us to connect with anyone at anytime, in different ways. We started slow, with telephone and letter concepts (chat, email, etc). But we evolved big, quickly.

Monologue VS Dialogue

Before, we were all living in a world where media could be considered a monologue. A one street conversation. We would sit in front of the TV, read the newspaper, research on books, and that’s it. Everything stopped there. Now, the concept changed. We ask questions, we confront the media, we have our own means, we interact. And we don’t only interact with one media, but with many, and at the same time.

The future

Does that mean the old media died? Everything that came before the internet won’t exist anymore? No, we all know that is not true. They have to evolve. And that doesn’t mean that a newspaper has to become an iPad, or books have to be on a Kindle, or movies need to be watched on Facebook (definitely not Warner, you definitely got that wrong).

The evolution means simply being more interactive, allowing your customers to not only have an space to talk to the brand, but also talk to each other. Obviously, things are harder now. More types of media mean more competition. Some people prefer Kindles, others prefer books. You need to live with it. This means traditional media businesses will need to work harder than they were 20 years ago, but guess what? Everyone does! There’s more competition out there in all sectors, everyone is struggling.

Find your niche

If you look closely at the market, you’ll notice different niches. Some people love Apple, some don’t, and some hate it. Some people embrace all things digital, the early adopters. But you also get the totally opposite, those who will refuse to buy a cellphone in 2011!  That’s a big behaviour in our new society, brands just need to take advantage of it. Read The Long Tail and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 10, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Posted in Digital, Media

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