Opt-in for mobile permission marketing

Last updated: 20 March 2014

In the mobile industry permission marketing is a new buzz word. But what does it mean exactly?

According to marketing guru Seth Godin: “permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.”  It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.

He continues: “Real permission is different from presumed or legalistic permission. Just because you somehow get my email address doesn’t mean you have permission. Just because I don’t complain doesn’t mean you have permission. Just because it’s in the fine print of your privacy policy doesn’t mean it’s permission either.”

So how can marketers gain permission?

Ultimately, brands and operators need an interactive channel to engage with consumers.  The trade-off must be clear from the beginning with the idea being: “let us know what you want so we can customize our services and offers to you. Receive relevant offers, if you want, when you want.”

Thanks to its conversational capability, messaging is still one of the best channels where mobile permission can be gained, with SMS still one of the preferred communication channels as we previously blogged about. But what are the benefits of permission marketing in the mobile channel for brands, operators and consumers?

What can brands and advertisers gain from it?
The opt-in SMS is an opportunity to engage in a personal relationship with consumers through a powerful interface that reaches all handsets across all operators, improving targeting and achieving a higher ROI. These direct marketing programs can include a variety of nitiatives, from discount coupons, surveys, customer service, location-based information, sales season or new collection alerts to loyalty rewards etc. The brand can save costs, grow its revenues, increase ARPU and loyalty, and/or qualify the CRM database. The opportunity for brands is even more latent in emerging countries where internet penetration is low and the prepaid mobile phone is the “first screen” for the majority of the population – in this case, SMS is THE most relevant customer interface and shouldn’t be ignored.

And what’s in it for operators? Opt-in SMS campaigns can generate trust between consumers and operators and increase loyalty, as the mobile user can be confident in the knowledge that his or her preferences are being respected. This trust is an opportunity for operators to get to know their customers better, collecting preferences and therefore improving the targeting for up-selling or cross-selling offers targeted services, location-based deals or even coupons from other brands in the particular areas of interests signaled by the user.  So for the operator, opt-in SMS isn’t a bad idea: which mobile operator doesn’t want to increase trust and loyalty, grow services revenues and may even add a new source of revenue from other brand’s direct marketing?

Finally, why should the customer give their permission? Permission marketing puts the user in control of their mobile marketing experience, respecting their interests and privacy. The trade-off is clear from the beginning with the idea being “let us know your preferences so we can customize our services and offers to you. Receive relevant offers, if you want, when you want.”