What Would Seth Godin Say About Permission and Mobile Market Research?

By the Editors

Marketing guru and entrepreneur Seth Godin coined the term “permission marketing” back in the 1990s and made it popular when he wrote a book about it in 1999. His argument was that with the dawn of the Internet, email and now mobile technologies, the old ways of marketing and research changed. The “TV-Industrial complex” was based on interrupting people while they were doing something else (watching a particular TV program, listening to a particular radio program, etc.), and instead now must be replaced with those that are based on first gaining permission from people before inundating them with messages.

Gaining that permission typically will involve some kind of value exchange. In other words, people opt in because they’re promised something in return, whether that be discounts, coupons, special deals, additional content, extra apps or other items. It is important to apply the basic principles of permission marketing, which marketers have down pat for email marketing and site opt-ins, to mobile market research as well.

One of the beauties of permission marketing (there are many) is the much greater targeting effect that takes place. You’re only communicating with people who are interested in what you have to say, or at least in the value that you’re offering to them. Permission marketing takes customer relationship management to the next level by tailoring marketing through an on-going one-on-one dialogue that deepens over time.

With the near-complete takeover of mobile devices for much of the world’s population, it is important for businesses to realize that the devices go far beyond a useful technology that provides users with the functionality they’re looking for. The devices are as personal as you can get. Who hasn’t noticed, after all, that among young people, mobile phones seem more like appendages than devices that are separate from their bodies. They represent an extension of personal space and identity – all the more reason you should ask permission before invading it! That also means you need to be very clear with participants about privacy policies and protections.

If you want to make permission a feature of your mobile market research efforts, keep these points in mind. Tell people why they are being asked to opt in, what giving permission means, and what value they will receive in exchange for their consent. Make sure the value offered is relevant to the people you’re seeking to enroll. Make it as easy as possible, while being completely transparent about what happens to the data generated – as well as privacy policies and protections. Data security and privacy are crucial concerns for customers sharing their personal information. Above all, the permission framework implies that those who have opted in should also be able to opt out at will, so make sure that’s clear as well.

Permission marketing is quickly becoming the norm, and it is time to make sure that it is accompanied and supported by permission-based mobile market research efforts. Companies who set up this winning combination will be the ones that gain a competitive edge in the world of mobile marketing.