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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Permission Marketing
by Seth Godin, Simon & Schuster, 1999.

"As a consumer, you now inhabit an endlessly expanding universe of new offers, urgent solicitations, price-off promotions, and money-back guarantees. This is the mass production economic system carried to its logical extreme - businesses all trying to find more customers for an ever-widening array of more specialized and innovative products and services. In order to sell this vast arsenal of products, marketers all over the world soak up every square inch of space, every extra second of time, and they paste their sales messages into those nooks and crannies, hoping you'll encounter them. So, as a consumer your life is now filled to overflowing with this previously unimaginable variety of opportunities, choices, and assorted messages - all calling for decisions on your part, even if the only "action" you take is to pay attention for an instant. And make no mistake about it, your constant attention is demanded. Every idle moment you possess is seen by some business somewhere as an opportunity to interrupt you and demand more of our attention." (page 13)

"Marketers want to get their messages in front of you. They must get their messages in front of you, just to survive. The only problem is - do you really want more advertising messages?"


The Marketing Crisis that Money Won't Solve - You're not paying attention. Nobody is. (Chapter 1 title)

"It's not your fault. It's just physically impossible for you to pay attention to everything that marketers expect you to - like the 17,000 new grocery store products that were introduced last year or the $1,000 worth of advertising that was directed exclusively at you last year."

"Is it any wonder that consumers feel as if the fast-moving world around them is getting blurry? There's TV at the airport, advertisements in urinals, newsletters on virtually every topic, and a cellular phone wherever you go."


"Every day you're exposed to more than four hours of media. Most of it is optimized to interrupt what you're doing. And it's getting increasingly harder and harder to find a little peace and quiet." (page 27)


"Some people found my intensity irritating. They mistook it for aggression. But what the heck? My theory was that when somebody comes in with a good idea, you should challenge him or her, because there's a real good chance they haven't challenged themselves enough, that they aren't yet at the height of their thinking. If you ask them questions and you push them, they will make the idea even better. I also bugged people by paying relentless attention to details. I learned some of this from a former consulting client, Bill Gates. At Microsoft, I named the process, 'push-back,' any idea that was brought to Bill, he'd push back against it…and hard. But it was only to unlock the minds and maximize the ideas of the people who brought them to him." (page xxi)


"The ironic thing is that marketers have responded to this problem with the single worst cure possible. To deal with the clutter and the diminished effectiveness of Interruption Marketing, they're interrupting us even more!" (page 28)

"That's right. Over the last thirty years advertisers have dramatically increased their ad spending. They've also increased the noise level of their ads - more jump cuts, more in-your-face techniques - and searched everywhere for new ways to interrupt your day."

"In addition to clutter, there's another problem facing marketers. Consumers don't need to care as much as they used to. The quality of products has increased dramatically. It's increased so much, in fact, that it doesn't really matter which car you buy, which coffee maker you buy, or which shirt you buy. They're all a great value, and they're all going to last a good long while."


"It's estimated that the average consumer sees about one million marketing messages a year - about 3,000 a day." (page 29)

"Interruption Marketers Face a Catch-22"

1. Human beings have a finite amount of attention.
You can't watch everything, remember everything, or do everything. As the amount of noise in your life increases, the percentage of messages that get through inevitably decreases.

2. Human beings have a finite amount of money.
You also can't buy everything. You have to choose. But because your attention is limited, you'll be able to choose only from those things you notice.

3. The more products offered, the less money there is to go around.
It's a zero sum game. Every time you buy a Coke, you don't buy Pepsi. As the number of companies offering products increases, and as the number of products each company offers multiplies, it's inevitable that there will be more losers than winners.

4. In order to capture more attention and more money, Interruption Marketers must increase spending.
Spending less money than your competitors on advertising in a cluttered environment inevitably leads to decreased sales.

5. But this increase in marketing exposure cost big money.
Interruption Marketers have no choice but to spend a bigger and bigger portion of their company's budgets on breaking through the clutter

6. But, as you've seen, spending more and more money in order to get bigger returns leads to ever more clutter.

7. Catch-22: The more they spend, the less it works. The less it works, the more they spend."


"There is one critical resource, though, that is in chronically short supply. Bill Gates has just as much as you do. And even Warren Buffet can't buy more. That scarce resource is time. And in light of today's information glut, that means there's a vast shortage of attention." (page 42)

"This combined shortage of time and attention is unique in today's information age. Consumers are now willing to pay handsomely to save time, while marketers are eager to pay bundles to get attention."


"Interruption Marketing is the enemy of anyone trying to save time. By constantly interrupting what we are doing at any given moment, the marketer who interrupts us not only tends to fail at selling his product, but wastes our most coveted commodity, time. In the long run, therefore, Interruption Marketing is doomed as a mass marketing tool. The cost to the consumer is just too high." (page 43)


"Originally, the Internet captured the attention of Interruption Marketers. They rushed in, spent billions of dollars applying their Interruption Marketing techniques, and discovered almost total failure." (page 51)