Permission marketing is a strategy that focuses on obtaining consent from prospects before presenting any type of information on a given product or service. In terms of e-marketing strategies, this approach makes it possible to provide interested parties with the chance to proactively request information using such means as signing up to receive emails relating to the products, standard pricing, and any sales or other updates that the seller may choose to issue. Considered a less invasive means of reaching and building relationships with customers, proponents of permission marketing note that this method helps consumers feel more in control and thus more receptive to receiving information about specific products.
The idea of permission marketing is the opposite of the concept of another marketing approach known as interruptive marketing. This strategy is based on the idea that customers are more passive and the marketer must take steps to catch the attention of consumers by using different means of pulling them away from other tasks or interests in order to generate interest and form relationships. In contrast, permission marketing affirms that consumers know what they want and are more willing to consider a given product if given the opportunity to do so on their own terms.
One important aspect of permission marketing is providing prospects with the ability to control the degree of interaction they have with salespeople. In an online environment, many sellers will structure web sites to include a page that allows visitors to request more information on their products. That request may be for a one-time receipt of brochures via post or an email containing the information that is of interest to the consumer. Many online sellers also provide the means for interested parties to receive ongoing emails, including product updates and announcements of sales. This type of strategy makes it possible for businesses to avoid spamming consumers, since they only send out email announcements to people who have indicated they want to receive those updates.
The use of permission marketing does not preclude the use of different types of media to promote product lines. Like most other types of marketing, this approach does allow for advertising in print media, radio and television commercials, and even the creation of online ads that appear on various web sites. Any advertising method that allows consumers to still control whether or not they give attention to a given ad is in keeping with the spirit of permission marketing, and is likely to have the effect of motivating consumers to indicate they want to know more about the products represented in the ads.