‘All marketing should be permission marketing’

‘All marketing should be permission marketing’
: Ten years ago, Procter & Gamble CEO Ed Artzt gave a now-legendary speech shaming the ad industry into innovating and embracing new media. I was starting online then and it made waves.

Now, 10 years later, another P&G exec, Jim Stengel, gives a followup speech to the industry and gives them a bad grade, a C-, for their efforts so far.

A few good lines:

In 1994, we anticipated an explosion in TV channels, resulting in significant fragmentation in viewers. Today, the average U.S. household has more than 90 TV channels

  • Dave Schuler

    Dear Mr. Jarvis:
    You write:
    Instead, they should be thinking: Is our information good enough to serve you?
    That question brings up the follow up question: is the product good enough to sell you? It’s a question that advertising has avoided for years.

  • Well, Proctor & Gamble don’t make bad products; that’s one thing they don’t do.
    It’s easy for Jeff to engage us in conversation about how wonderful his Treo 600 is. But what if he started doing the same to Colgate and Q-Tips?
    My point is, he doesn’t, and there’s a reason. This brave new world hasn’t caught up to the mundane reality of having to schlock 100 million tubes of toothpaste a month.
    Still, it’s still early days. It’ll be interesting to see how P & G sell their wares in a decade.

  • So send Jim Stengel a copy of Gonzo Marketing, or if you can’t find yourself willing to part company with yours send me his address I’ll pass along my copy.

  • Things aren’t over just because you say they’re over. Advertisers still want big audiences and they still want to ‘push’. Advertising is push. And the more targeted it is the more pushy it is. If all marketing was permission marketing there would be virtually no marketing. When marketers talk about relationships they usually mean ‘how can I get more money out of each customer?’. That’s the opposite of what ordinary people see as relationships.

  • Somerset DePoint

    Trevor Cook writes: “When marketers talk about relationships they usually mean ‘how can I get more money out of each customer?’. That’s the opposite of what ordinary people see as relationships.”
    Obviously, you have not met my family.
    The other problem with “permission only marketing” is that advertising does serve a purpose: it provides information. If I did not see George Foreman hawking his Lean Mean Grilling Machine on the infomercial, I would never have known that I wanted to buy it. And gosh darn it, it makes real good grilled cheese sandwiches!

  • JorgXMcKie

    Of course, sooner or later someone will have to address the difference between commodity advertising (toothpaste or hamburgers) and speciality advertising.

  • Thanks! You made my day.

  • There’s something about the phrase “all marketing should be permission marketing” that evokes the nanny culture anti-business ‘consumer advocates’ like the lefty dolts at Consumers Reports, who that every business is potentially criminal and believe that they are entitled to lives free of anyone trying to sell them stuff. It’s the same mentality that considers all unsolicited email as spam, and makes no distinction between targeted advertising that is looking for a realistic response rate and true spam thats looking for a 1 in 500,000 response rate.
    Somehow the meme that it’s immoral to try to sell things has spread.

  • “Immoral to try and sell things” – no. It is immoral to waste *my* time (and in the case of spam; storage, bandwidth, and money), of which I have a very limited amount. I am reminded of a long Hienlein (LL) rant about people who want “just a minute of your time”, and how you can be nickeled and dimed to death by this.
    In broadcast media, we just tune it out, or hit the mute button, because we have no choice. But it’s not something that endears us to the advertiser, unless the ad is interesting in it’s own right, or we happen to be in the rare circumstance of actually thinking about buying the item in question. In the past, we resented it less because push media (broadcast, print, billboards, etc.) was all there was. Now, with the internet media for contrast, it is more of a noticeable difference.
    Actually, the guy from P&G is talking about being more effective in his marketing. This is a normal and expected effort to sell things better. Remember, “The customer is always right”? It would only be political if the government was involved, which it is not. It is simply a matter of a business tracking a cultural change that was triggered by mass exposure to the internet.

  • So P&G is getting it. J. Walter Thompson is also getting it. They decided to re-invent themselves on February 28th, 2005, and adopt this “new” creed. To symbolize this, they’re now calling themselves JWT. However Seth Godin, who commented above, wrote the book on Permission Marketing back in 1999. Perhaps these big companies aren’t getting out into the real world often enough.