"Permission marketing" is a common marketing term that we have all heard time and time again. As Realtors, we have all been trained to ask "do you mind if I include you on my mailing list". Is there still value in building a database? Definitely. Is there still value in asking this? Of course.
The other day I sat through a new Realtor educational session where building a database was taught as being one of the most four valuable things you can do as a Realtor. The words "permission marketing" were cavalierly thrown around throughout the presentation. The trainer was someone who had been in the business for over 20 years and said handing out your business card and building a database was the lifeblood of a Realtor's business.
I sat back, listened and took notes, like a good student. But I got wondering... how important is "permission marketing" going to be in the near future? Will using this term one day make you sound antiquated? Is a statement like this going to be like saying 25 years ago that the MLS book is the lifeblood of a Realtor's business? I think so.
With blog subscriptions, feed readers, and social networking sites that don't operate on an email platforms, how relevant will "permission marketing" be? Today, I don't wait to be asked as to whether or not I would like to sign up for a newsletter. I am the one that goes and seeks out the information I want to receive. I am the one that organizes my feedreader to get the blog content I am interested in reading. I am the one that allows people to join my social networks and be a part of my planning and decision making. I am the one that decides which widgets I want to download. I am the one that reads and writes customer reviews. No one asked me if I would like to receive their information, I go out and find it on my own.
Maybe the question isn't "can I add you to my newsletter list" anymore. Maybe the question is "do you want to join my network or a group on facebook" or "be friends on MySpace" or "get connected on LinkedIn" or "subscribe to my blog".
Doing these "permission marketing" activities, such as sending out a newsletter, ensures that the recipient will hear from you at regular intervals. Joining up in a social network or subscribing to a blog means that the relationship advances to where two parties are entwined into each other's lives, quite possibly on a daily basis. It moves from situation where you are pushing information out, to one where the client is pulling information into their world and relationships are created, verses just having information digested.
I think "permission marketing" will continue to have its place and won't completely go away. But I do think it will evolve and be renamed. Now if only I could think about what the name is, coin it, and become as rich and famous and Seth Godin! What do you think the next big marketing buzzword to replace the permission marketing phenomena?