The future of permission marketing

3 minute read

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to speak at the 2012 WebIt conference in Istanbul. I was asked to talk for 20 minutes on the future of permission marketing – a pretty huge topic, so I picked three key points to discuss.

Here’s the slide deck from my talk, and below it a very quick summary of my key points. There are many more exciting changes ahead – I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


More connected:

There are an increasing number of ways to reach people online but, as our recent infographic showed, more ‘traditional’ channels like SMS and email marketing remain dominant.

As more options become available it’s crucial to adjust your messaging to reflect the different ways that people consume messages and use the strengths of different channels to your advantage.

It’s also now normal for people to switch channels and devices regularly, so design your marketing to allow for this.


More mobile:

Mobile is now the primary channel for media consumption, especially social media – but it’s not the only one. It’s increasingly the starting point, but often users will switch devices. Channels where it’s easy for users to do this (like email, where you can easily save a message and view it on another device) tend to drive more clicks.


More personal:

An important aspect of permission marketing is personalisation. Your messages have to be relevant to get read. This has different connotations for different channels.

For example, with Facebook, most personalisation is out of your hands. Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm decides if your message is relevant to a fan and if and when they’ll see it.

With Twitter, users decide to follow/unfollow you, and timing becomes crucially important – if your message isn’t in the top 100 or so of a user’s stream, they’ll likely never see it.

Email still gives you the most control and lets you perform true one-to-one messaging at scale.


The net effect of all these changes is that attribution of actions and revenue to a given marketing channel is becoming more difficult. An interaction may start with a tweet or email read on a mobile device and then switch to a tablet or laptop. When analysing campaigns it’s going to be increasingly important to take this into account, and avoid cutting activity just because the impact can’t be directly measured.

The marketers that get the best results will be those who make it easy for people to switch devices as and when they like, and embrace the different ways that channels are used.