Interruption Marketing vs. Permission Marketing

What every business is trying to do is grab the attention of their target audience. However, nowadays with the invasion of new media this has become harder and harder to do. People are no longer forced to give their attention when requested, so as a business owner you should be aware of the different types of marketing and which one suits your business and your marketing strategy the best.


Interruption marketing

For a long time, marketing was exclusively focused on bombarding customers with promotional messages designed to persuade them to buy a product or a service. The arrival of the Internet, the development of mobile communications and social media has provided marketers with an easy and affordable way of spreading their key marketing messages to everyone. However, that has also led to invading customers’ privacy and their personal time. You’ve probably noticed the online pop-up banners, the email and SMS spam which you most likely ignore and some you may even find irritating. In the simplest of terms, this type of marketing is most likely to interrupt the viewer’s eye, therefore it’s called interruption marketing. Interruption marketing covers some traditional methods of advertising such as TV and radio commercials, display banners, print advertising, telemarketing and direct mail.

Even though this type of marketing was extremely successful several decades ago, modern day consumers are increasingly indifferent to certain types of it. We’ve become more sophisticated and aware of the products and services out there and therefore we’re more likely to be turned off by the invasive and unsolicited promotional messages.

Despite this, interruption marketing is still widely used and some types of it can prove to be useful in certain situations. For example, presence at trade shows and posters at exhibitions, adverts to promote a new product or service or a completely new company still have a place and are relevant in many markets.

Permission marketing

As I have already said, digital marketing has provided an easy and affordable way for marketers to interrupt people and invade their personal space. However, it has also given a platform for the customers to choose and search for what they would like to see and for marketers and business owners to engage them in an intimate and personal conversation.

The busier people have become, the more their attention has become a valuable asset. Permission marketing recognises this and concentrates on treating people with respect in order to earn their attention. Marketing to your target audience has become a privilege that requires to first seek permission from the customers. And permission here is the crucial word, because if your potential customers haven’t given you the go ahead, your marketing messages are very likely to fall on deaf ears. As the marketing guru, Seth Godin, points out, “real permission works like this: if you stop showing up, people complain, they ask where you went”.

Permission is usually given when you make a promise, e.g. you say “I will provide you with useful information about electricity efficiency in your house if you give me your permission by listening” (e.g. give me your email address). But you need to be very careful when you do that. You need to make sure that you deliver exactly what you’ve promised, don’t assume that you can do more with that permission. Buyers know how to opt out, so don’t say that you’ll give them useful tips on how to save on their electricity and then bombard them with marketing messages about your floor mop. If you break the initial agreement with your customers they will simply stop trusting you and start ignoring your messages.

However, not all forms of marketing need permission. You can blog, vlog, post free white papers and e-books on your website and since you’re not pushing your content in your customers’ faces, you don’t need their consent either. In fact, it’s recommended that you add as much relevant content to your website as possible as that will influence your SEO and credibility and if your content is shareable, your key messages will reach a lot more people than just those stopping by on your website.

Permission doesn’t have to be formal but needs to be obvious. There are two ways that it can be given:

Explicitly – when the customer has actively agreed to listen to you; opted in, signed up or subscribed to your newsletter, or requested information.

Implicitly – when a customer relationship has been established and there is an implied understanding that the customer is happy with receiving promotional messages. This can happen when a customer registers to a website, opts in for a free trial or downloads a free product.

Very few companies do permission marketing properly, as it takes patience, modesty and hard work. But one thing you should remember is that by giving you their permission, your customers let you know that they will listen and pay attention to your key messages, which makes all the hard work worthwhile.


That’s part of my work’s blog, if you want to have a look at the original click on the link below.



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