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Permission Marketing to Your Customers

- October 7, 2009 - 3 Comments

If you’ve read any of Seth Godin’s numerous best-selling books or visited his blog, you already know he’s outspoken and opinionated on the topic of marketing. (He was also a speaker at the last Partner Velocity event in February.) Some of his insights may seem counterintuitive to what you may have first learned about marketing, but as marketing evolves and social media becomes more prominent, Godin’s work is more relevant than ever.

One of Godin’s best-known concepts is Permission Marketing: “the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal, and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.” In short, this means contacting people who want to be contacted, delivering what and when you say you will deliver.

In a recent blog post, Godin remarks that he had a less-than-stellar experience while trying to get a price quote. “I visited eight sites. Six of them hide their email address. They use forms of one sort of another. One firm refused to accept more than 500 characters in the ‘how can we help you’ box, while three of them wanted to know what state I was in, etc.”

If someone comes to your company’s site for a price quote, they’ve specifically asked for an interaction, essentially giving you permission to contact them. “If you show up with a clipboard and a questionnaire, it’s not going to go well, I’m afraid,” Godin writes.

What are you doing to make it easier for your customers? If you don’t already, will you post an email contact on your site’s home page?

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  1. I think that forms have their place but the main aim of having the website is to get people to contact you, so you have to make it as easy as possible for them.I personally give my visitors a number of options to contact me - form, email, telephone, Skype, AIM. Email harvesting is a small price to pay for increasing customer enquiries (and any decent spam software can sort that problem out).

  2. Brian, very good point. And, of course, in a perfect world, you wouldn't have spam to contend with.Seth's ideas may not work for all, but hopefully will serve as food for thought around customer experience and customer service. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. I think Seth makes sense in a perfect world, but unfortunately there are two problems at work:1) Bots that harvest email addresses2) There is no control with emailForms can solve both of these issues and still make it easier for someone to contact you without picking up the phone. Most importantly, forms give the business the power to control the information that comes in so they can properly handle the request (weeds out time wasters as well).