red tulips | copyright Jill J. Jensen

 

 

Seth Godin

the "permission marketing" guru

 

For nearly anyone in nearly any kind of business, "permission marketing" has become the buzz-phrase of the new century.

If you have a company, product, or service and you're trying to entice customers into your fold, you already know that the clutter of messages and the diversity of media make it extremely difficult to reach precisely those folks who might benefit from your offer. Times have changed and traditional approaches to marketing are doomed to fail — but someone is intent on helping us get it right.

Way back in the late 1990s, Seth Godin introduced a 'new' concept of "permission" to marketers, communicators, and business people — the idea of attracting the customers who are best for your business by getting their permission to sell to them. Sounds weird? Maybe, but it works, and that's the thing that counts.

Best of all, Godin practices what he preaches. His website and books are shining examples. Ever heard of Unleashing the Ideavirus or Purple Cow? Both show how Godin walks the talk. He regularly takes innovative approaches to his own products and services that demonstrate how to win customers and keep their loyalty.

Purple Cow is a small and powerful book that encourages you to "transform your business by being remarkable." The first edition of it was packaged in a real, honest-to-goodness, half-gallon, waxed paper milk carton, printed, like the book inside, in a purple holstein-cow pattern. If you read Fast Company magazine and were a sharp observer and quick responder, you got one of those little gems mailed to you for free.

Godin's website contains all of his original resources, as well as connections to his assorted ventures, including Free Prize Inside, Meatball Sundae, Tribes, Linchpin, Poke the Box, and The Domino Project. Godin wants businesses to break out of their rut, pay attention to their customers, and have some fun already.

While not all of his books are (always) free, he's very generous with his ideas and information (hence, Unleashing the Ideavirus). Still, a lot of "free stuff" can be found on the site, including footnotes to some of Godin's books (available for download). You'll discover little gems of information, whether or not you've read the books. Godin also regularly updates and re-posts the footnotes, based on feedback he gets from readers — another good reason to check his website frequently and an excellent marketing tactic itself.

Whether or not you like or agree with everything Godin says or proposes, his approach reminds us that business, marketing, and communication can be both fun and effective. Now, keep an eye out for your own purple cow. Then, poke the box and get ready to reveal that free prize inside.

 

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