Why Getting Permission is Everything

After years in the marketing industry working for some of the biggest brands in the world, I had a moment of realisation: Traditional marketing and advertising just doesn’t work anymore.

Constantly interrupting new or current customers with one size fits all sales messaging is over.

Think about how you last felt when you opened the door to a door to door salesmen at dinner time or received a cold call on your mobile. Most ‘Interrupt and Sell’ marketing has this negative psychological effect on people.

It’s not just those extreme examples that make people’s eyes roll. ‘Interrupt and Sell’ is how radio and television advertising has worked since the 1960′s. How costly and inefficient must it be for a brand that sells nappies, for example, to advertise on prime time television? Their target market – new mothers (and maybe new fathers), make up a fraction of a fraction of the population at any one time. Yet we all have to sit through advert after advert that simply doesn’t apply to us.

As a result, we’ve all become experts at filtering out the marketing messages that don’t apply to us (and actually, when it comes to TV and Radio, all the adverts that are aimed at us too)  but we really shouldn’t have to.

It’s easier than ever to pinpoint your exact target customer and asking for permission to communicate with them takes seconds.

Of course, once you have permission, building a relationship with a prospective customer is much easier. You have bought yourself the privilege to communicate with them on an ongoing basis until they either buy from you (or tell you to stop, which is also much less likely to happen if you asked them for their permission to market to them originally.)

I see it every day. A list of 200 prospects who have effectively put their hands up and said ‘Ok, talk to me’ always outperforms a list of 10,000 cold data records.

It stands to reason, how would you feel if you were sat in your office working and a salesman walked in, unannounced, with his product under his arm and just said Do you wanna buy one of these? Huh?’

That’s what a cold email, a cold piece of direct mail or a cold call is – it’s an unsolicited interruption. And the businesses that constantly use those ‘Interrupt and Sell’ methods constantly create negative feelings in the very people they’re trying to sell to.

I started Skill + Fire to offer a new route for progressive businesses looking to grow. A type of marketing your contacts actually look forward to receiving and most importantly, a system based on permission.