Wired editor Brian Barnett suggested a few years ago that Cyber Monday is the perfect day to battle annoying marketing emails:
“Today more than any other, every single marketer in possession of your email address has set their phasers to send…
“Whether you’re partaking in deals this year or passing them by, take a moment to embrace the season’s true gift: all the emails you’ve been meaning to unsubscribe from, all in one place, all at the same time… stacked atop one another like desperate Jenga blocks.”
Few marketers think of their communication as spam. Yet spam doesn’t have to mean mass unsolicited emails. It can include any form of unwanted marketing communication. The sneakiest form of spam uses marketing automation tools to wrap badly targeted messaging in a shallow wrapper of personalization.
Seth Godin originated the idea of “permission marketing” in 1999, which distinguishes real permission from legalistic permission. Twenty-two years later, it still holds up as something to aspire to:
“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.”
Marketers can’t break through the clutter by adding to it.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: