Brands are increasingly adopting marketing automation, with email marketing as the most common application. Marketing automation has great potential to help deliver personalized useful messages to an audience that wants them.
Yet a recent Econsultancy study found that 37% of brands say their marketing automation efforts are not successful. I wonder how much of the failure rate relates to how the tool is frequently used.
I think that spam sent via marketing automation tools is still spam. If it’s unsolicited communication, I don’t think it matters that it’s sent out with sophisticated rules and beautiful marketing scripts that get your name right — it’s still spam.
Nearly 20 years ago, Seth Godin published the classic book “Permission Marketing”. It’s an oldie, but I think in the emerging world of marketing automation, it’s more relevant and prescient than ever.
Here’s how Seth once defined “Permission Marketing”:
“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.
“It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.
“Pay attention is a key phrase here, because permission marketers understand that when someone chooses to pay attention they are actually paying you with something precious. And there’s no way they can get their attention back if they change their mind. Attention becomes an important asset, something to be valued, not wasted.
“Real permission works like this: if you stop showing up, people complain, they ask where you went.”
I really like the idea of thinking of marketing as a “privilege”, not a “right”. I think that’s a useful framework to keep in mind when thinking about how to adopt marketing automation tools.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years.
“Personalization” November 2014
“Marketing Funnel” January 2015
“Email Marketing” June 2016