Down the pub, Joe is chatting to a mate about needing a
new car. "I'd love to see what's on offer," he says. He opens a magazine and, as if by magic, there's an ad for the car that has everything he's ever wanted and more. It's every client's dream and what marketers constantly strive for. Reaching the right person at exactly the right time. It seems the best way to do it is through permission-based marketing. Asking is the new selling and it works both ways - from the advertiser asking the consumer to the consumer asking the advertiser.
One of the best-known forms of permission-based advertising is e-mail marketing, where advertisers adopt a strict "opt in" strategy. They have to, otherwise they can risk brand rage, as Seth Godin, permission-based marketing guru warns. Receiving spam in your inbox is extremely annoying, especially if you are a busy professional, and that frustration will be taken out on the brand of the company responsible for the e-mail. For the
advertiser, the detriment done to their brand far outweighs the benefits of getting the message out to as many people as possible. It's a perfect example of where the advertiser must ask the consumer for permission.
Search engine marketing is another form of permission-based marketing that is less well known. But, if you think about it, it's one of the best forms of permission-based marketing there is because, each day, users are telling us what they want on the search engines. Consumers are asking advertisers for their information - potentially an extremely powerful proposition.
But getting listed - and, more importantly, getting listed prominently - is a tricky business. This is where paid-for listings comes in. An advertising medium that did not exist in the UK a couple of years ago, paid-for listings now account for 12% of online advertising spend and are valued between £25m and £35m. Advertisers such as Procter & Gamble, BA, Orange, EBay, AA and Opodo are just some of the 10,000 companies who are responding to consumer requests by being listed on Espotting's pay-per-click search network, which includes Yahoo! Europe, Lycos and Ask Jeeves. And they pay for only the traffic they receive.
The results from a paid-for listings campaign can be
phenomenal. Norwich Union Direct has experienced click-to quote rates as high as 41%, while TheTrainline achieved a return of £30 for every £1 they spent on Espotting. The numbers speak for themselves.
So, ask and ye shall sell - it's the new marketing commandment.