New Ways to Make Permission Marketing Work For You

Google, Yahoo, and Bing have made great advances in targeted marketing, allowing brands to focus on their most prized demographics. But none of them can yet answer the most important question: does a particular person actually want to buy your product?

That’s where permission marketing comes in. Coined by best-selling marketing guru Seth Godin, it has included opting in for newsletters, requesting catalogs, or signing up for e-mail updates. Now, innovations such as Facebook Connect and Google Buzz have ushered in a new era of permission marketing. These and other emerging services can provide you with additional opportunities to connect with your chosen audience.

For example, look at how the Huffington Post has led the way. Readers give “permission” by registering for the site with their Facebook or Twitter IDs. The Post then customizes their user experience based on information in the reader’s profile, news feed, and Facebook Likes. In return, the reader can now easily share stories from the Post with their Facebook and Twitter friends, leading to true social marketing.

Bertelsmann, a multinational media company, allows candidates to sign into its career site using Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Three reasons to incorporate permission marketing into your next recruitment campaign:

  1. Permission marketing creates a group of self-selected candidates who want to learn more about the company. This stands in contrast to “interruption” marketing, in the form of e-mails, banners, or Facebook ads. No matter how relevant or well targeted, many candidates still see these unwanted messages as spam.
  2. It allows your brand to build a relationship with candidates over time. Candidates who have given permission have expressed their willingness to learn about a brand and don’t require aggressive, one-shot promotions to grab their attention. This lets you educate the candidates about the company’s employer brand, benefits and opportunities.
  3. It strengthens a sense of community and identity, and thus works especially well in company intranets. Since permission marketing specializes in non-anonymous volunteers, it can work especially well in building relationships with a company’s management, employees, and staff. In fact, every B2E (brand-to-employee) strategy should include at least one element of permission marketing.

Start using permission marketing in your current campaigns, whether through traditional opt-in communications or new services like Facebook Connect or Google Buzz. You’ll maximize your resources, greatly increasing your rate of return. You’ll also gain new information about your target demographics from their profiles. Most importantly, you’ll cut through the noise of interruption marketing and convey a personalized, anticipated message to a more receptive audience.

Jody Ordioni is the author of “The Talent Brand.” In her role as Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Brandemix, she leads the firm in creating brand-aligned talent communications that connect employees to cultures, companies, and business goals. She engages with HR professionals and corporate teams on how to build and promote talent brands, and implement best-practice talent acquisition and engagement strategies across all media and platforms. She has been named a "recruitment thought leader to follow" and her mission is to integrate marketing, human resources, internal communications, and social media to foster a seamless brand experience through the employee lifecycle.

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8 Comments on “New Ways to Make Permission Marketing Work For You

  1. This advice is antiquated and dangerous.

    Huffington Post’s trick was to create killer content, or rather to get other people to do it for free.

    Trying to use their techniques in product marketing will get you tagged as a spammer.

  2. Gregg – I respectfully disagree with your comment that applying permission marketing techniques to recruiting is “antiquated and dangerous” and will “get you tagged as a spammer”.

    Spam relates to relevance and interruption. We classify content as spam if it is considered irrelevant and an intrusion. Permission marketing is the opposite – – it is designed to be relevant, personalized, and expected. The recipient provides details about their interests so the content delivered is tailored to them (relevant and personalized) and they have “opted-in” which means they expect to hear from the marketer. The premise behind permission marketing is that the marketer provides something of value in exchange for your attention.

    Jody – I think this is a terrific article and I hope to see more on the topic.

  3. Jon
    You and Jody are right that conceptually ‘permission marketing’ should be an arrow in the quiver of every marketer.

    But it’s not 1999 anymore and advising someone to use ‘permission marketing’ without prefacing it with stern warnings about its abuses or without discussing what it takes to create killer content is in fact antiquated and dangerous.

    If you’re like most people, you got to work today and found your inbox filled with unwanted emails from ‘permission marketers’. How did these marketers get the idea they had our permission? Maybe we signed up for a white paper once. Or maybe they’re in the same LinkedIn group we are. Or maybe we went to a conference where they were a vendor. It doesn’t matter really.

    If they are sending us junk that gets through our spam filters, then it is the exact opposite of your definition.

    That said I agree that Jody wrote a technically correct essay and would love to see her develop further the points on using established identity providers like Facebook or Google to make career sites more flexible for candidates.

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