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4.2 out of 5 stars
Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Internet marketing and relationship marketing are the subject of numerous books, but Seth Godin's Permission Marketing does a better job of explaining the concepts better than any other single volume.
Permission Marketing explains the differences between Interruption Marketing (old-style newspaper, TV and radio ads) and Permission Marketing--where visitors ask to be kept informed and willingly share information about themselves and their purchasing needs. It reinforces the successes I've enjoyed in over twenty years of marketing and shows how customer relationship-building techniques that were previously inefficient and, thus, unaffordable are now within the reach of all.
Permission Marketing cuts through the clutter of marketing theory and web technology and provides a highly readable, jargon-free conceptual framework for viewing web marketing in an new light. Throughout, Permission Marketing emphasizes integrity and customer respect--in contrast to books which are often subconsciously predicated on an adversarial relationship with prospects and customers.
Permission Marketing will change the way you think about advertising and marketing and suggest a whole new approach to your web site. It will inspire you to break out of the mold of price advertising.
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89 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
When traditional methods of advertising or direct mail don't work as effectively in attracting your customer's attention, what do you do? Read up 'Permission Marketing' and apply the principles and practices recommended by Seth Godin. According to Godin, an advertising message which interrupts a customer's life - her time, privacy and peace of mind - has a lower chance of persuading her to buy a specific brand. Instead, he advocates, a marketer can build a relationship with a customer over time and win her permission to market to her. In other words, make friends with the customer. The customer, then, not only becomes more receptive to the advertising message, but actually anticipates it. Godin calls this method 'permission marketing' and illustrates its strengths with success stories ranging from Amazon.com to Yahoo!. Simple? Well, not exactly. It requires a deep understanding of direct marketing and using the Internet as a direct marketing tool. But, Godin makes all this easier in his new book. Read it before your competitors do.
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67 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In addition to working in the profession of advertising and marketing, I'm an adjunct professor at a nearby university. I taught Seth's principles in my course on Direct Marketing last semester, and I intend to teach his principles in my course on Fundamentals of Advertising this semester. In fact, I intend to teach his material in every class I have that's even remotely related. Frankly, I think Seth's material should be taught in every university throughout the land -- and shouted from the rooftops amongst those in my profession.
Simply put, the material in this book -- deceptively clever, succinct and, at times, humorous -- is explosive. I say deceptive because if you don't "get" what Seth's trying to tell you, I imagine it would be possible for you to dismiss the entire concept as shallow or gimmicky. However, I believe this information represents nothing less than the future of advertising and marketing. You will ignore it at your own peril.
One of the biggest thrills for me was hearing my students put into use Seth's Permission Marketing phrase "Turning strangers into friends and friends into customers" -- even months after the class ended!
Not only is that a testament to the clarity and brevity of Seth's ideas, it's also the distillation of his book's premise.
For in today's world, we're bombarded by no less than 3,000 paid advertising messages per day. There's no way we can assimilate, remember and act on that many messages. No matter how creative they may be. It's no longer a matter of breaking through the clutter with killer creative; it's now a battle for one of the most precious commodities we're left with: our attention. And advertisers lose that battle every single minute of every day.
Therefore, agencies who seek ever more creative (and expensive!) creative approaches to help boost their clients' sales would do well to read Permission Marketing. Clients who whip their agencies mercilessly, sometimes changing them as often as they change their underwear (because they just aren't seeing the results they expected), would do well to read Seth's Permission Marketing book. BEFORE they blow millions of dollars looking for the next 15-minutes of fame for their advertisement.
Odds are, it ain't gonna happen.
Permission Marketing clearly describes the problem and equally as clearly provides the answer: ask permission first. Then only send your advertisement to those who ask to see it. Reduced to a catchphrase, what you need to do is turn strangers into friends and friends into customers through the power of direct marketing.
Since my field of expertise IS direct marketing, I grasped immediately what Seth was saying. I "got" it. And I know as sure as I know my own name that what he writes is rock-solid, essential information.
The only critical point I'd make is that right now Seth's ideas have a chance to work. And maybe work for a decade or two into the future. But what happens when even those who have given "permission" to receive advertising messages don't have time to read all the messages they've given permission to receive? I'm a great example of that. I've given permission to receive about a dozen online e-newsletters. (In direct marketing parlance, I've "opted in.") However, I simply don't have time to wade through them all. (Truth be told, the only one I read -- and look forward to -- on a regular basis is Seth's.) So not all permission is created equal. I imagine as people get even more busy that even those advertisers with whom they have a relationship will begin to see a drop-off in response.
But until that time, Permission Marketing should be required reading for all university students, direct marketers (who likely already know its simple, yet powerful message), advertisers, marketers and clients.
Once you "get" what Seth is saying, you'll never look at advertising the same way again!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Seth Godin is the Vice President of Direct Marketing atYahoo,and before that founded the successful web startup Yoyodyne. Inthis book he tells us what he has learned about 20th century marketing and how it is evolving as a result of media saturation. Media saturation is making traditional forms of marketing less effective. Seth refers to traditional marketing practices as Interruption Marketing and contrasts this with Permission Marketing. There is room for both forms of marketing in Godin's universe, but Seth exhorts most marketers to begin creating a permission-based marketing system for immediate and long term survival. The alternative to a permission based marketing system is the current interruption based marketing system that consists of big budgets for wow advertising that is meant to capture your interest long enough to deliver simple branded messages. Interruption marketing is about being clever at getting attention. You get attention with a great ad campaign where consistent attention grabbing messages are repeated in various media. Marketing research has demonstrated that over time familiarity can build trust in a brand as the solution to a particular class of problems. Trust equals profitability. Relying on interruption marketing techniques to attain "brand trust" is very expensive but can and has been done. TV, radio, and newspapers are required to create initial interest in your product and services. Godin argues that there is no getting around this cost of marketing. To build brand trust, however, you should try to use your interruption marketing to develop a permission based marketing system. In a permission based marketing system, the customer is asked for their permission to receive messages from the marketer. Often the marketer will offer an incentive that makes it worth the customers while to give their permission. The marketer will need to continue to offer incentives for the ongoing permission of the customer. In return, the marketer has permission to educate the client about their product or service and to build trust in their brand. This is most often done through email. In fact, Godin's book could be read as the authoritative guide to managing opt-in email lists for profitability. Saying that the book is about email is not to denigrate the scope of this book. Email is the internet for alot of people. Email is the killer app! Email marketing needs to be understood and mastered by anyone calling themselves a marketer. Godin's book has alot of good advice for marketers who would like to expand their marketing savvy into the domain of permission based marketing systems. On the surface, Permission Marketing is mostly about opt-in email and how to manage it over time. I think that you will find, however, that it has alot to say about how any technology involving personalization should be managed over time. All such technologies are likely to require substantial amounts of permission before they can become effective. Personalization is about more than filling out a form with your name, address and phone number on it. It is about collecting data on users over the long term, looking for patterns in the data, and adapting your interaction with the users based on those patterns. The precondition for this heartier form of personalization is the perception by the user that they can trust you with the data being collected on them. Getting the users permission is central. Godin discusses a variety of techniques and case studies that show how permission can be attained and increased over time. Permission marketing can be done honestly or dishonestly. All you know is that you have to offer free goodies frequently and try to trick the customer into a higher level of permission. I can imagine that many permission marketing systems are run in this manner. They may even be successful. Alternatively, permission marketing may reflect the ethical manner in which you choose to do business with your clients. You ask for permission to educate first and strive to retain that permission by consistently delivering superior value. This form of permission marketing has been practiced by many successful business people over the ages and it is hoped that Seth Godin's book will help us to see this method of business in a clearer light.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you're going to spend any time or money marketing your business on the Net, you really need to read this book. Every major site has adopted the principles you'll read here, and my company is spending more than half its budget executing them.
On the other hand, maybe you shouldn't buy it... more market opportunity for the rest of us!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"Permission marketing , turning strangers into friends and friends into customers" is a challenging concept. Chapter 1 challenges the assumption that customers/potential customers like to be bombarded with intrusive "interuption marketing". We do not like it ourselves, so why should our customers? Chapter 2 has "five steps to dating your customer", all based on value to the customer, and investing in the relationship. You find Godin applying good principles from personal relationships, into relevant lessons for businesses. For a book that takes this further, with some new examples from USA and UK/Europe, check out Cram's "Customers that Count"
Godin's permission marketing thinking applies to Direct Mail, telemarketing and face to face situations. He quotes McD's "Do you want fries with that?" as the most six most profitable permission marketing words in the world. In chapter 9 he applies Permission based marketing to the web and has some good advice. For other books that add value in this area, take a look at Fred.Newell's "Loyalty.com" and Patricia Seybold's "Customer.com"
I also found the evaluation section - Chapter 11 - and the Frequently asked questions in Chapter 12 useful. On page 239/40 of my edition there is a simple but compelling checklist of 12 things to do to put Permission marketing into practice. That is the essence of the book, and I recommend it to you
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 1999
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I read a brief review of this book on a local newspaper in Argentina. I bought it. Wow! It's not "Everything you always wanted to know...". Nor is it "Get rich overnight". It's a clever, easy-to-read, interesting book on marketing. Most of the things are valid not only for Internet, but also for any business you may be involved in. Do yourself a favor and READ THIS BOOK. Mr. Godin has done a wonderful job.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2005
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
To gain the attention of consumers, marketers must cut through the clutter. According to Seth Godin, author of the book "Permission Marketing", "the average consumer sees about one million marketing messages a year -- about 3,000 per day."

Godin calls the traditional approach to getting consumer attention "Interruption Marketing." The key to each and every ad, contends Godin, is to interrupt what you are doing in order to get you to think of something else. The problem, as Godin sees it, is that "to deal with the clutter and the decreasing effectiveness of Interruption Marketing, they're interrupting us even more!"

According to Godin, "every marketing campaign gets better when an element of permission is added." Interruption Marketing fails because it is unable to get enough attention. Permission Marketing works by taking advantage of this fact.

Consumers are willing to pay handsomely to save time, which is wasted by Interruption Marketing. Permission Marketing offers the consumer an opportunity to volunteer to be marketed to. Permission Marketing, as Godin sees it, "is a lot like dating" and he offers these five steps to "dating" your customer:

FIVE STEPS TO DATING YOUR CUSTOMER

1. Offer an incentive to volunteer

2. Using the attention offered by the prospect, offer a curriculum over time, teaching the consumer about your product or service

3. Reinforce the incentive to guarantee that permission is maintained

4. Offer additional incentives to get even more permission

5. Over time, leverage the permission to change consumer behavior toward profits

These comments first appeared in Pharma Marketing News (see "Out-of-the-box Marketing: Will it Work for Pharma? [...]
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
few people in this day and age have the time to read more than a couple of business books a year. seth godin's is a gem for being so brief (a mere 242 small pages minus the index) where the american tradition is that volume (in books) is better than sex. however with the shortage of time at hand, do read chapter 8 "everything you know about marketing on the web is wrong". it has proved immensely instrumental and educational for clients and friends I have come across. needless to say I read everything - and liked it, was enlightened from it - yet if you're already familiar with one-to-one marketing, skip loads of the book.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Godin does a great job of setting up traditional adveritsing's history, leading it into what has become its fatal flaw in contemporary culture. He further exlplains EXACTLY how the internet does indeed change everything, and how to take advantage of it. What's so great about this is that there's none of the typical shysterism and spin usually associated with marketing in this brave new world of permission marketing. Finally, honesty really is the best policy--so refreshing! The future of commerce is the one-to-one relationships enterprises build with their customers. One of the great ironies of the internet age is that even in speeded up "internet time", we must take time to build trust and establish ouselves with our customers. One email at a time. Carefully. Strategically. I can boldly say that anyone involved in the web (which will soon be everyone) who doesn't read and grok this book will be left far behind with no money in the bank and no customers. Anyone who reads this book and "Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity" by Jakob Nielson will rule over all their competitors.
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