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Optism Blog Series: Seth Godin's Permission Marketing - Mobile Book Review


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Optism provides permission-based, mobile marketing services to mobile operators, agencies and brands. Giving mobile subscribers the opportunity to opt-in to advertising messages based on their preferences is the core tenant of our service. Our blog series Permission Marketing in the News has been highlighting mobile and other permission marketing news for the past year. The leading proponent of permission marketing is Seth Godin who coined the term in his book Permission Marketing in 1999. To celebrate our one year anniversary, we are running a series of blog posts summarizing his book chapter by chapter and analyzing how changes in the mobile and advertising marketplace have impacted the recommendations in his book.

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Optism Blog Series: Seth Godin's Permission Marketing - Mobile Book Review

  1. 1. A Book Review of Seth Godin’sPermission MarketingPermission Marketing in the NewsBlog Series Optism provides permission-based, mobile marketing services to mobileBy Optism Team operators, agencies and brands. Giving mobile subscribers the opportunityFebruary 2012 to opt-in to advertising messages based on their preferences is the core tenant of our service. Our blog series Permission Marketing in the News has been highlighting mobile and other permission marketing news for the past year. The leading proponent of permission marketing is Seth Godin who coined the term in his book Permission Marketing in 1999. To celebrate our one year anniversary, we are running a series of blog posts summarizing his book chapter by chapter and analyzing how changes in the mobile and advertising marketplace have impacted the recommendations in his book.
  2. 2. A Book Review of Seth Godin’sPermission MarketingPermission Marketing in the NewsPermission Marketing Chapter 1 – Looking Back . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Permission Marketing Chapter 2 – Permission vs. Interruption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Permission Marketing Chapter 3 – The Rise and Fall of Interruption Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Permission Marketing Chapter 4 – Getting down to business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Permission Marketing Chapter 5 – All about trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8Permission Marketing Chapter 6 – Permission five ways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9Permission Marketing Chapter 7 – Permission as a commodity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12Permission Marketing Chapter 8 – Seth’s take on web marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14Permission Marketing Chapter 9 – Permission-based web marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15Permission Marketing Chapter 10 – Case studies then and now. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17Permission Marketing Chapter 11 – Evaluating a Permission Marketing Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19Permission Marketing Chapter 12 – Final questions and answers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21Blog Series
  3. 3. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 3Permission Marketing Chapter 1Looking BackMay 6, 2011Chapter One of Permission Marketing by Seth Godin outlines at sporting events. Second, they are making advertisements morethe differences between traditional advertising and permission controversial and entertaining. One example of this is BMW’smarketing. Instead of calling it traditional advertising, Godin dubs series of high-budget, short films called The Hire with top-notchit interruption marketing because it interrupts us from what we actors like Clive Owen and Don Cheadle. Third, brands are scrappingare doing. Godin writes, ”Interruption, because the key to each long-term campaigns like the Pillsbury Doughboy and tryingand every ad is to interrupt what the viewers are doing in order to new approaches to gain the attention of the audience. Fourth,get them to think about something else.” For example, having to marketers are abandoning advertising and going with direct a TV commercial interrupts us from watching our favorite TV Since 1999, consumers have opted-out of direct mail lists by theshow. Godin believes trying to convince your audience to buy your millions, reducing the attractiveness of this marketing opportunity.product by interrupting them is a challenge. Additionally, the audience has shifted over from other media to the Internet, forcing those marketing dollars into search engineThe difficulty of this challenge has been amplified by the marketing.proliferation of media channels and advertising outlets. Accordingto Godin, the average consumer sees about one million marketing Godin concludes Chapter One by acknowledging the Catch-22messages a year or about 3,000 a day, up substantially from even that interruption marketers face. Consumers have a finite amount10 years ago. The resulting cacophony has forced the audience to of attention and money, but there are more products than ever.increasingly tune out all advertising messages, forcing marketers Marketers need to spend more money to capture consumers’to further increase the volume of advertisements. attention, leading to more advertisements and more tuning out by consumers. This is the Catch-22: The more they spend, the less itGodin says this “infoglut” has forced marketers to react in four works. The less it works, the more they spend. That statement wasways. First, they are advertising in stranger and stranger places like true in 1999 and it continues to be true today.parking meters, grocery store receipts and super-imposed graphics Interruption Marketers face a Catch-22: The more they spend, the less it works. The less it works, the more they spend.Blog Series
  4. 4. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 4Permission Marketing Chapter 2Permission vs. InterruptionMay 20, 2011In Chapter Two of Permission Marketing by Seth Godin, he shows 1. Offer the prospect an incentive to volunteerhow marketers could start using permission marketing instead of While interruption marketers spend all day talking to strangers,interruption marketing. permission marketers spend as little time and money talking to strangers as they can. Instead, they try to turn strangers intoGodin starts off the chapter by stating a key point about today’s prospects who choose to “opt-in” to a series of communications.economy: consumers have limited time and attention, whilemarketers are trying to gain that attention. To illustrate this point, 2. Using the attention offered by the prospect, teach theGodin presents an analogy about two gentlemen: the interruption prospect about your product or servicemarketer and the permission marketer. Each of them wants to get Now that the consumer is paying attention, the marketer canmarried but they have different approaches. focus on educating the consumer on the benefits of the product or service without resorting to crazy, attention-grabbing stunts.The interruption marketer buys an extremely expensive suit.New shoes. Fashionable accessories. Then, working with the best 3. Reinforce the incentive to guarantee that the prospectdatabases and marketing strategists, selects the demographically maintains the permissionideal singles bar. Walking into the singles bar, the Interruption Over time, the offer might get stale, so it is important to refine theMarketer marches up to the nearest person and proposes marriage. offer based on the understanding you have already developed withIf turned down, the Marketer repeats this process on every person the the bar. If the Marketer comes up empty-handed after spendingthe entire evening proposing, it is obvious that the blame should 4. Offer additional incentives to get even more permission frombe placed on the suit and the shoes. The tailor is fired. The strategy the consumerexpert who picked the bar is fired. And the Interruption Marketer Gain even more knowledge about the consumer.tries again at a different singles bar. 5. Over time, leverage the permission to change consumerMeanwhile the permission marketer does it a little bit differently, behavior towards profitshe tries dating. He goes on a date with someone. If the date goes Now that you fully understand your consumer, you can tailor awell, the two of them go on another date. After a few dates, there product or service perfectly, based on the prospect’s a level of sharing and communication. After a few months, thepermission marketer proposes marriage. Godin says that marketers Godin concludes the chapter by stating that permission marketing isshould follow this same process when courting future customers in both a philosophy and a process. Permission marketing is anticipated,his Five Steps to Dating Your Customer. personal and relevant while interruption marketing is not.Blog Series
  5. 5. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 5Permission Marketing Chapter 3The Rise and Fall of Interruption MarketingJun 29, 2011In Chapter Three of Permission Marketing by Seth Godin, it’s time altered the landscape of courier services and Federal Express,for a little history. Permission Marketing will change the way companies market products.”For anyone born after 1940, it’s hard to imagine a world withoutomnipresent advertising. After all, industry experts estimate that In 1999, Seth knew it would take some time for companies towe are bombarded with between 3000, and 5000, marketing embrace the opportunities presented by permission marketing.messages a day (Seth estimated 3000, in Permission Marketing; “Many of the big companies will stick to their knitting and remainmore recent estimates have that number much higher). But as we faithful to the marketing methods that got them to where they arelearn in Chapter 3, it wasn’t always so. today. This creates mammoth opportunities for new companies, for companies with nothing to lose, for companies with the flexibilityFirst, the industrial revolution changed the way products were and initiative to try a very different way of gaining and keepingmade. Factories made it profitable to produce goods in massive customers.”quantities. That in turn meant companies had to cast a muchwider net to find customers, giving birth to mass marketing. And Well, he was right, it has taken a while, but permission marketingthen, a surprise: “It wasn’t the factories or the car that caused is gaining mindshare every year. From the germ of Seth’s ideathe big increase in corporate profitability. It was advertising. The – to develop a personal engagement with customers – haseconomies that came from establishing a product as the leading blossomed both social media marketing and mobile marketing,brand, the huge premiums that were derived by charging extra for both permission marketing strategies. These new forms ofa trusted name, dwarfed the savings in product.” marketing embrace the fundamental shift in human behaviour — that individuals are in the driver’s seat, free to find information,Thus, the golden age of advertising was born. Using the resources and people on their own terms — how, when and wheredevelopment of Crisco as an example, Seth shows how marketing they want to.often played a direct role in product development. (Proctorand Gamble developed Crisco in part to safeguard its supply of Today, even the big guns have seen the light. At numerouscottonseed oil, a key ingredient in its hugely successful Ivory soap.) marketing events, Coca Cola has confirmed that permission mobile marketing has become a focus for the company and its advertisingAs Seth points out, in the uncluttered arena of 20th Century teams are constantly coming up with new and creative waysmarketing, interruption marketing worked very well. It was scalable, to maximize its permission-based connections with customers.predictable, easy to implement, and enabled many companies Unilever representative Rahul Welde spoke at the recent Mobileto become very profitable. Marketing agencies and their clients Marketing Association Forum in Singapore on “the new rules ofbecame addicted to interruption marketing and failed to see the engagement with digital and mobile consumers.” As our weeklywriting on the wall. As he showed us in Chapters One and Two, Permission marketing in the news blog demonstrates, Seth’swith the glut of advertising out there, it’s harder and harder to concepts have hit their stride in 2011.reach people with interruption marketing. “Just as the fax machineBlog Series
  6. 6. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 6Permission Marketing Chapter 4Getting down to businessJul 13, 2011Chapter Three of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing sold us on The two approaches have a natural synergy and their long-termthe value of permission marketing. In Chapter Four, it’s time to perspectives encourage marketers to maximize the value of eachget down to business. Seth starts with an explanation of the customer relationship. That, Seth believes, is where the money is:relationship between permission marketing and one to one “The true, current value of any one customer is a function of themarketing, a concept developed by Don Peppers and Martha customer’s future purchases, across all the product lines, brandsRogers in their book, One to One Future. To help distinguish the and services offered by you.”two, Seth introduces the five step “prospect” cycle: Clearly, mobile marketing is ideally suited to both permission marketing and one to one marketing. Seth talks broadly about Strangers Friends Customers Loyal Former “technology” being an enabler of permission marketing, but in 1999 Customers Customers → → → → few could have envisioned just how quickly mobile technology would become a significant presence in people’s lives or how it could be leveraged by permission marketers. Today, however, weOne to one marketing starts with customers. Instead of focusing on know that SMS marketing can reach the pockets of consumersincreasing the number of new customers, a one to one marketer anywhere in the world, even when they are using the most basicfocuses on “keeping customers longer and getting far more money of mobile handsets. Permission-based mobile services like Optismfrom each of them over time.” The marketer’s challenge is to hang enable marketers to precisely target who gets their messages, andon to and build the customer’s interest in what a brand has to when and how often they get them, so they know their messagesoffer and to maximize your “share of the wallet.” are relevant. Marketers have access to detailed analytics so they can measure the impact of any campaign and modify exchangesWith permission marketing, Seth encourages marketers to focus up on the fly, based on customers’ and begin nurturing “total strangers from the moment theyfirst indicate an interest.” The first challenge is to get a prospectto “raise his hand” and agree to listen to further messages fromthe brand. Once this initial permission is given, the marketer cansteadily build on that foundation, exchanging value for enhancedpermission. By staying engaged with the individual, over time thestranger becomes a friend, and the friend becomes a customer.“If the marketing messages you send are anticipated, relevantand personal, they will cut through the clutter and increase theprospect’s knowledge of the benefits you offer.”Blog Series
  7. 7. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 7As far back as 1999 it was apparent that customer care and the The best strategy is to start slowly and build. “An interrupted consumerrole of the customer were changing dramatically. If a customer’s is in no hurry to send you money or promise to invest a lot of time.” Youtrue value was to be measured over a longer term, it was clear need to start small and offer something really compelling to get thebrands would need to be highly responsive to the customer’s ball rolling. Using a fishing analogy, Seth suggests you need “the mostneeds. Seth noted, “Customer service has always mattered. But effective, most obvious bait you can find.”now that power has shifted to the consumer, it matters a greatdeal more.” Once you’re through the door, you can start to expand what you know about the customer and what they know about yourSeth closes out Chapter Four by addressing that all-important products and services, in a mutually-beneficial series of exchanges.question: how do you get people to raise their hands (to opt As always, it is critical that you, the marketer, provide customersin) to permission marketing? Most often, he says, it’s through with something of value. Mobile marketing is ideally suited to thisinterruption marketing! “Without some way to grab the attention kind of approach. You can reach out to customers with short, clearof a stranger, the permission process never starts.” messages and solicit specific information in return. By creating an open channel for the exchange of information, a mobile marketing campaign can help you to maintain that all-important relevancy.Blog Series
  8. 8. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 8Permission Marketing Chapter 5All about trustAug 5, 2011In Chapter Five, Seth tells us that “without trust…there are no In traditional (interruption) marketing, repetition or frequency issales.” People want to buy from companies they trust. In fact, we’re expensive. Fortunately, permission marketing makes frequencyoften willing to pay a little extra to deal with a company that we more effective and technology dramatically reduces or eliminatestrust. Trust gives us confidence that the product we’re buying will the costs. According to Seth, “Permission Marketing is the tool thatdeliver what we want and that if it doesn’t, we’ll be treated fairly makes frequency work.”by the seller. It lowers our risk as consumers and that encouragesus to open our wallets. “Trust, almost without exception, leads to Today, the thing that is in shortest supply is people’s attention,profit.” and that, says Seth, is a game changer. “Creating value through interaction is far more important than solving a consumer’sIt’s not something, however, that can be created instantly, problem in thirty seconds.” As we’ve seen, permission marketingregardless of how innovative an advertising campaign is. Trust, gives you access to frequency but “it replaces continuingSeth points out, is built over time. It’s the by-product of a process interruption with ongoing interaction.”that in the modern world starts with advertising. Advertising buildsawareness. With time and frequent repetition, that awareness Permission mobile marketing, which has evolved since Seth wrotegrows into familiarity. Finally, with careful management and his book, is an ideal vehicle for delivering ads that offer both reachattention to customer relationships, familiarity becomes trust. and frequency. Current estimates for mobile subscriptions (reach) are between 4.2 billion and 5 billion. Research has shown that Advertising Awareness Familiarity Trust “about 90% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes of their delivery – and over 99% of all text messages are read by the → → → recipient.”The value of reach vs. repetition in advertising. Seth believes And while you can’t inundate subscribers with repetitive messages,that given a choice between reach and repetition, many marketers once you’ve received permission to engage with people on theirwould opt for reach. They would choose, for example, a single 30 mobiles, there’s an expectation that you will in fact keep in touchsecond Super Bowl commercial or full page ad in The New York with them. Your audience expects you to deliver valuable, relevantTimes – advertising that commands a premium price because of content on a regular basis, and of course that content will includeits reach. He argues, however, that you’d probably get a better ROI and/or reinforce your key messages. According to Seth, “You can’tif you put your money on repetition. Why? Because “a single ad, market a product in one fell swoop. Instead, it’s an interactiveno matter how well produced, no matter how compelling, is almost process, an approach that takes time and persistence andnever enough to sell your product.” continual adjustment.” Permission mobile marketing provides a channel that is ideally suited for keeping the conversation going.It takes time and repetition for your message to sink in. Time forthe audience to stop focusing on the hook you used to grab their Seth also tells us that people are “most likely to respond toattention and start listening to your message. And repetition to advertising that is frequent, focused, and personal.” That soundsget through the clutter of advertising that is everywhere today. like permission mobile marketing too, doesn’t it?Blog Series
  9. 9. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 9Permission Marketing Chapter 6Permission five waysAug 26, 2011In Chapter Six, Seth introduces the five levels of permission, • Don’t want to make a choice, and/orwarning that “all permission is not created equal.” He covers a lot • Want to avoid running out of somethingof ground in this chapter, so we encourage you to go directly to thesource. The following paragraphs are only highlights from the book. Intravenous permission is a great privilege but it comes with a high risk. If the marketer guesses wrong and sends something weThe five permission levels are: don’t want, or the oil company guesses wrong and we run out, we1. Intravenous (and “purchase on approval” model) may quickly withdraw all permission. Today, you could use mobile2. Points (liability model and chance model) marketing to help you maintain your valued position, by helping3. Personal relationships you stay close to the customer. For example, you could use a4. Brand trust quick dialogue exchange to fine-tune your automated service and5. Situational identify any recent blips in the normal situation. You could also use mobile marketing to enhance your understanding of customers’Intravenous permission preferences, so you can tailor product offerings more precisely.As you can imagine, “intravenous” permission is very high — itgets its name from the kind of permission we provide to medical Marketers must be very careful that they don’t abuse this highstaff when we’re on intravenous. We grant them permission to use level of privilege. Beyond the obvious – not making unsuitable orwhatever medications they think are appropriate, without necessarily unnecessary purchases on the customer’s behalf – the marketerconsulting us, and certainly without doing any “comparison must continue to offer superior service and pricing. In return forshopping.” We trust them to know what’s best for us and we commit granting intravenous permission, we expect to be treated as a mostto pay for whatever services and drugs they deem appropriate. highly valued customer.Sounds drastic, doesn’t it? We authorize the service provider ormarketer to select, administer and charge us for a product or servicewithout checking with us first. In reality, it’s not uncommon. Many ofus have that kind of agreement with a home heating oil company.Another form of intravenous permission, not quite as drastic as fullintravenous, is “purchase on approval.” In this case, we are notifiedof the product or service the marketer selects for us and reservethe right to say no. An example of this kind of permission is theagreement you sign to join a record club.Seth believes we are willing to provide intravenous permissionwhen we want to:• Save time• Save moneyBlog Series
  10. 10. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 10Points permission You can leverage that personal relationship to move someone to a higher level of permission, or to sell them custom products, veryPoints or loyalty credits are a “formalized, scalable approach to expensive products or complex products that require people toattracting and keeping the prospect’s attention.” Unlike traditional commit significant energy into understanding techniques, points systems can be tightly monitoredand costed. Points are used to reward us for the frequency and Permission mobile marketing is an excellent way to maintain andvalue of our purchases or for paying attention. In 1999, when Seth strengthen personal relationships. You connect with people on theirwas writing Permission Marketing, he noted that it was much personal mobile, so you’re effectively getting together with them ineasier to focus on rewarding buying behaviour. “Proving that an their personal space. The calls to action supported, which includeindividual paid attention is difficult, especially if there’s a large click to call or click through to a web page, allow you to encourageaudience.” Today, mobile marketing helps to address this challenge. people to delve deeper, but you let them control the experience.Research has shown that “97% of mobile subscribers will read a You’re demonstrating your respect for them but also makingtext message within four minutes of receipt.” That’s a whole lot of yourself accessible. With mobile marketing, you can tailor offeringsattention that wasn’t readily available and trackable in 1999! to the person, so the content is more relevant and has value. When you combine mobile marketing with social media, the effect can beSeth believes, “the best marketing programs get better over time” very powerful in creating personal permission.and points programs can be “a remarkably inexpensive way to Seth recommends, “If you’re a professional with deep permissionattract and keep exactly the right people.” Consumers are willing from qualified prospects, the single best way to improve yourto pay attention to these programs because they “have a good business is not by finding more clients, but by selling more stuff totime. They feel smart. They feel in control. They feel safe. They the people who have given you permission already.”like getting me-mail, not e-mail (every interaction is anticipated,personal, and relevant, not to mention unique, to them).” Brand trust permission Brand trust is the traditional home of interruption marketing. SethSeth goes on to describe two types of points programs, liability believes “brand trust is dramatically overrated. It’s extraordinarilyand chance, and closes with some advice on how to build the most expensive to create, takes a long time to develop, is hard toeffective points programs. A key piece of advice? “The program measure, and is harder still to manipulate.” He admits it is alsomust be built with permission overtly included. Consumers must “the most common way marketers practice their craft.”understand from the first day that the marketer will be watchingtheir actions and will be using the data to send focused, relevant, Marketers use our trust in a particular brand to sell us additionalpersonal messages to them.” That sounds familiar doesn’t it? products under the same brand. If we like the new product, thePermission mobile marketing is 100% aligned with this advice. status granted both products is enhanced. Of course the reverse isPersonal relationship permission also true: if the new product fails to deliver on the brand promise, both products suffer.Personal relationships are an extremely valuable form ofpermission, but Seth ranks this permission third because it isn’t Seth notes, “The power of brand trust can be truly significant.”scalable. (Remember, Permission Marketing was written in the It can be very difficult for a new product to wedge its way intopre-social media era, before we all had thousands of “friends”!) the market if the space is already occupied by a strong brand.Personal relationships are also “slow and difficult to make deeper.” And it will take a lot of time and money to get the new product’sThat said, Seth believes, “By identifying the right individuals and message heard.working to earn their trust and permission, retail and business-to-business marketers can make a huge impact on their bottom line.” In the end, Seth acknowledges that brand permission is a worthwhile level of permission, “but it must be guarded, andHe notes, that “personal permission is the most powerful form tended to, and invested in.”of permission for making major shifts in a consumer’s behavior.”Blog Series
  11. 11. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 11Mobile marketing campaigns can be used very effectively to maintain a with an adidas Originals campaign in Cairo. The sports retailerbrand’s image and create awareness. Of course it is essential that the used mobile marketing to reach out to people with an interest inbrand avoid any spam-like programs which could seriously damage fashion and sports and encourage them to visit a new store. Mobilea brand’s image. In Ghana, Volkswagen chose a mobile marketing marketing is also a means of delivering mobile coupons. Once thecampaign to quickly alert car shoppers to the availability of a new coupon pushes people across the threshold, in-store marketersshipment of vehicles. Mobile marketing is also excellent at reinforcing have an excellent opportunity to sell additional items. Seth citesbrand campaigns in concert with traditional media. those famous words, “Do you want fries with that?” as an example of how a well-trained staff can leverage situational permission toSituational permission significantly impact a company’s bottom line.Situational permission is very useful, time sensitive, and usuallypreceded by “May I help you?” It’s the permission we grant Spamwhen we’re in a store or on the phone and we agree to listen to The last “permission” category Seth covers in Chapter Six is thatsomeone tell us about a product or service. The consumer initiates non-permission category, spam. Some marketers believe if “anthe process, so permission is clear and input from the marketer is advertisement is relevant, it’s not spam.” Seth doesn’t agree.welcome. The “will to buy” is present and very real, so it’s a golden “The most important part of the permission troika — anticipated,opportunity for the marketer. personal, and relevant — is anticipated. And spam is not just unanticipated, it’s dreaded.”Usually, the marketers with situational permission are the salespeople on the floor. Training and presentation are key factors for In some markets, spam is a very real threat to the success ofsuccess here. A situational permission can evaporate in an instant mobile marketing. (See our recent blog on the situation in India.)if the front line people fail to meet the consumer’s expectations. If Responsible service providers, industry experts and ecosystema lineup is too long, the sales clerk doesn’t know the product well, organizations like the Mobile Marketing Association are all vocalthe waiter looks sloppy or the phone caller sits on hold too long, in their opposition to mobile marketing spam. At Optism, wethe marketing opportunity is lost. rely on 100% opted in audiences that are fully expecting brand communications. We encourage everyone to do the same.Mobile marketing campaigns can be used to drive customers intoa store, to create the situational permission. This was the caseBlog Series
  12. 12. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 12Permission Marketing Chapter 7Permission as a commoditySep 16, 2011In Chapter Seven, Seth explores “working with Permission as a Being selfish is okcommodity.” He provides four rules to help marketers do this: Interruption marketing is based on the notion that if you interrupt1. Permission is nontransferrable. enough people, you’ll make a sale. Doesn’t matter how many2. Permission is selfish. people you interrupt; the focus is on the sale. Permission marketing3. Permission is a process, not a moment. takes the opposite approach. With permission marketing, “the4. Permission can be canceled at any time. marketer is not in control, the consumer is. And the consumer“Permission rented is permission lost” is selfish.” Consumers only care about things that are relevant to their lifestyles, so you have to give them “a reason to paySeth’s first rule is very much in keeping with a mobile marketing attention.”best practice: the permissions you have been granted should notbe shared, sold or traded to anyone else. This is very different fromtraditional marketing practices where selling and trading consumerdata is a multibillion-dollar business. For Seth, “PermissionMarketing is at odds with the secret sorting and evaluation ofdata.” As we’ve been reminded throughout the book, permissionmarketing delivers advertising that is “anticipated, personal, andrelevant.” Brand messages that are received from an unknownsource, from someone who has simply bought a consumer’scontact information, aren’t anticipated — they take the consumerby surprise. “And when you surprise a consumer, not only do youvoid permission, you increase fear.”Today, data mining continues to be very big business. But mobilemarketers must be particularly diligent about addressing people’sfears of unwanted advertising (spam) and the uncontrolled use oftheir personal information. People consider their mobile devices verypersonal and they are not at all interested in receiving unwanted,unanticipated contact on it. Mobile marketing is most effective whenit can be tailored to an individual’s personal preferences and lifestyle.That means, consumers must be willing to share information aboutthemselves and they won’t do that if they don’t trust the system.Marketers can overcome these fears by demonstrating their respectfor the customer. Be open, honest and clear about what someoneis opting in for. Spell out in simple and straightforward terms whatyou will be doing (and not doing!) with an individual’s personalinformation and how it will be safeguarded.Blog Series
  13. 13. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 13Back in Chapter One, Seth explained that people today are over- ends. Seth provides examples of how several companies, includingexposed to advertising, so getting their attention is a challenge. his own, have created an ongoing dialogue. “By investing inInterruption marketers go to extremes, developing clever hooks the process and testing the results of the investment,” theseto grab our attention. Permission marketers “make every single companies have strengthened and enhanced the originalinteraction selfish for the consumer.” At every step of the permission granted.interaction, they focus on answering the consumer’s “What’s init for me?” For example, affinity or loyalty programs are effective Mobile marketing offers you many ways to keep the conversationbecause they clearly reward consumers every time they pay going and it is clearly ideally suited to a relationship based onattention. dialogue.Mobile marketing is an excellent vehicle for building and sustaining How to keep from getting your head cut offa loyalty program. In fact, the most successful mobile marketing Seth illustrates his last point — that with permission marketingcampaigns are based on providing the consumer with content “consumers can cancel permission at any time” — by recountingand rewards that are relevant to them personally. Remember, the the story of an Arab king with a fondness for cutting off people’srewards don’t always have to be monetary. heads. The point behind the story is that as a marketer, you need to keep the customer wanting more. “Every communicationFrom interruption moment to ongoing must be crafted with the goal of ensuring that it’s not the last one.”dialogue Permission marketing, says Seth, “makes the marketer do a better job.”Unlike interruption marketing, which is focused on the moment,permission marketing is a process. “It begins with an interruption Mobile marketers can — and certainly should — adhere to Seth’sbut rapidly becomes a dialogue.” To keep the permission going, four rules for working with permission as a commodity. Permissionmarketers must keep the consumer engaged by offering content to directly engage with consumers is clearly a very valuablethat is relevant to them. If they fail to do this, the relationship commodity, worth nurturing and protecting.Blog Series
  14. 14. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 14Permission Marketing Chapter 8Seth’s take on web marketingOct 13, 2011Chapter Eight is perhaps the chapter that most shows its age. To provide people with a compelling online experience, you needIt is also a little more US-centric than other chapters because to offer constantly-fresh news or data that is customized to aSeth spends time comparing marketing on the web to marketing particular user or event.on (American) TV networks. That isn’t to say that he thinks thetwo channels should be treated the same. He opens the chapter Permission mobile marketing enables you to offer fresh contentby noting, “The idea that the Internet is a medium just like TV in a timely fashion and you can tailor advertising campaigns tosupports the old way of thinking about marketing, but it just people’s known preferences and interests.doesn’t work the same way.” You can’t build a viable business by relying on search enginesWhile Seth’s analysis of the TV world in the US may be due for to find you. “Any single Web site is a very tiny needle in a verysome revising, his advice to marketers who want to expand to the big haystack.” You need to create a process that will reduce theweb are still very valid. He tells marketers to start by answering randomness and bring relevance into play.some key questions as they develop their web marketing strategy: Permission mobile marketing is all about relevance. The people you1. What are we trying to accomplish? push to your website through a permission marketing campaign2. Can it be measured? have already been vetted as individuals likely to be interested in3. What is the cost of bringing one consumer, one time, to your products or services. our Web site?4. What is the cost of having that consumer return? You don’t have to embrace cutting edge technologies to5. If this works, can we scale it? succeed. “The vast majority of consumers want mastery of technology, not the cutting edge.”We think this kind of analysis is equally valid when developing apermission mobile marketing strategy. We know this is true for mobile. SMS may not be the sexiest approach for mobile marketing, but it has been field proven overWeb marketing myths and over again. And it reaches far more people than mobile apps,The balance of Chapter Eight consists of debunking web marketing particularly in developing economies.myths of the day. Here are some key takeaways with ongoingrelevance today. The web permits people to remain anonymous, but “great marketers entice consumers to give up anonymity.”You can’t evaluate effectiveness by counting hits.“There’s no metric to convert hits to sales, or hits to market share, In fact, as Seth points out, “Permission Marketing rewardsor hits to branding.” You need a better tool for measuring success. individuals for giving of their anonymity.”With permission mobile marketing, you can directly connect aparticular campaign with a desired outcome, using a measurablecall to action, such as click to call or mobile couponing.Blog Series
  15. 15. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 15Permission Marketing Chapter 9Permission-based web marketingOct 27, 2011Seth starts Chapter Nine with a look at the impact the Internet marketing campaign, you learn more about your customers aswill have on the world. In 1999, the Internet – or at least broad they learn more about your offerings. Mobile is a natural forpublic access to it – was still very new. Still, it was already making this kind of marketing. A dialogue-based campaign is ideal forbillionaires out of the visionaries who figured out quickly how to keeping the conversation going.make the most of this new phenomenon. 3. Use the two-way nature of your engagement withSeth identifies six key benefits that the Internet offers direct customers to make sure they are paying attention. “Bymarketers – many of which we can now also claim for mobile encouraging responses, it’s easy to determine who’s involvedmarketing. With some paraphrasing and modernizing of Seth’s in the campaign and easier still to upgrade the rewards tooriginal text, these benefits are: consumers to maintain their interest.”1. No postage costs 4. Offer additional incentives to get more permission from customers. Unlike mass marketing campaigns, which deliver2. Testing any campaign or initiative can be completed very the same rewards and content to every customer, a web- or quickly mobile-based campaign can be customized “for an audience3. Response rates are high of one.” That custom package can offer content and rewards4. You can educate people about your product and build their that are tailored to the individual customer’s preferences. appreciation for its virtues over time (referred to by Seth as “curriculum marketing”5. Once you’ve made a connection with someone, you can keep the conversation going with little or no additional cost6. Printing is free (printing is done by the consumer, not you)Seth goes on to explore “five simple steps to any PermissionMarketing campaign in the context of the Internet.” These stepswill really resonate with permission mobile marketers – they areundoubtedly part of your current campaigns and if they aren’t,maybe they should be.1. Offer a prospect an incentive for opting in. This incentive doesn’t have to be monetary — there are many ways to reward a customer for paying attention.2. Use the attention being offered by consumers to teach them about your product or service. With a mobileBlog Series
  16. 16. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 165. Over time, you can change consumers’ behavior to The rest of Chapter Nine provides advice on how to set up your generate profits. You can build a responsive, receptive permission-based web site. audience who “want and expect to hear from you on a 1. Test and optimize your offer personal and relevant topic related to purchases.” 2. Make the permission overt and clearSeth reinforces a message from earlier chapters: building an 3. Use computers, not people, to send and receive informationopted-in audience can take some time, but permission marketerscannot skip this step. Renting or buying contact lists does not 4. Focus on mastery – online consumers need to feel smartwork. Without the consumer’s explicit opt-in, your messages willbe perceived as spam and could do serious damage to your brand. Much of Seth’s web advice is relevant today and lots of it can be readily adapted to mobile marketing. Seth also offers this caution when addressing the privacy issue: “Jeopardizing one’s privacyPermission marketing and your web site is the single largest reason given by consumers for not shopping online and for not opting in to promotions and marketing programsSeth writes, “Your Web site should be 100 percent focused on online.” As we saw in our recent blog on the importance ofsigning up strangers to give you permission to market to them.” He respecting people’s privacy, this issue is just as hot today as it wasalso notes that it’s important to be very transparent with people. in 1999.“The more explicit the opt-in, the more valuable the permission.Tricking people into giving their e-mail address is a waste of time.” For additional mobile marketing “getting started” advice, check outWe’ve noticed something similar with mobile opt-ins. We don’t our Opt-in best practices blog. Also, you might want to listen to therecommend that a brand use a flashy contest with a big prize as three-part podcast between MobileGroove’s Peggy Anne Salz andan incentive for opting in. If you do, you’re likely to end up with a Ogilvy’s Rory Sutherland. The podcasts cover topics such as usinglarge number of people who are just in it for the prize and quickly mobile for customer service and for targeted moments (such asopt out once the contest is over. It’s far more valuable to have when a customer is in a buying mindset). In the final instalment ofpeople opt in who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. their conversation, Sutherland talks about how marketers shouldOf course, there should be a reward, but keep the reward related to focus on the value exchange and develop strategies for improvingyour overall brand story. consumers’ experience.Blog Series
  17. 17. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 17Permission Marketing Chapter 10Case studies then and nowNov 23, 2011In Chapter 10, Seth provides examples of companies that “have Mobile has proven itself to be an effective means for building adone it right, and some that haven’t.” Some of the companies he targeted customer database. Our Permission Marketing in thefocuses on have thrived and continue to be dynamic retailers today, News blogs highlight these types of campaigns on a regularsuch as AOL and Amazon. Others – even some of the ones that basis. For example, we recently read how New York & Co. built itswere using permission marketing effectively – have disappeared. database of 180,000 loyalists using SMS. The retailer believes itsAs we all know, the last 12 years have been tough ones! SMS alerts program has enabled them “to broaden the way our customers can reach us to find out about new promotions andThe case studies provide good examples of permission marketing exclusive offers and events.”techniques in practice. Today, we can supplement Seth’s email-focused case studies with ones from the permission-based mobile Offer people an incentive to raise their handsmarketing world. Permission marketing is all about encouraging people to opt in to receive advertising rather than hoping to catch their attentionReach receptive audiences with targeted messages by interrupting them. As we explored in Chapter 1, people areSeth starts us off with an example of an opportunity missed. A becoming immune to advertising, so it is taking more and morekosher gourmet shop is advertising the availability of Passover money and creativity to catch people’s attention. Most advertisingdishes in an expensive, general population publication (The New falls on deaf ears.York Times). It would be far more cost effective to use directadvertising for these special-purpose products to a targeted Some of Seth’s case studies demonstrate how permissionaudience. As a result, “the ad is wasted on the 95 percent or more marketing can cut through the advertising clutter and catchof readers who have no interest in or desire for this product.” people’s attention. Step one is to develop a permission marketingAdding insult to injury, the ad the shop uses doesn’t work visually – strategy that “gives consumers a selfish reason to raise theirit’s too small and the call to action is unclear. hands.” Once you’ve made the initial connection, you can continue to reward loyalty, while providing additional information about yourInstead, the shop owners should collect contact information from their products or services. With permission marketing, the goal is tocustomers throughout the year (with their permission, of course) and build an ongoing relationship with an engaged audience.then use this targeted list to alert people to their Passover offerings.The store could also reach out to religious communities in the area to Seth uses American Airlines’ AAdvantage program as an exampleagain reach a targeted, receptive audience. “By delivering a message for how to reward people for raising their hands. “Frequent fliersthat was anticipated, personal, and relevant, the shop could have receive special privileges, recognition, and mileage awards, so thedramatically cut marketing costs while it built profits.” Best of all, once more they fly, the more services and benefits they receive.”the store has built its permission base, the cost of reselling to its targetaudience is negligible. Today, mobile marketing campaigns are often used to build a loyalty program. Recently, Alon Brands, who operates hundreds ofBlog Series
  18. 18. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 18gas stations and 7-Eleven stores in the U.S., leveraged mobile’s introduce an opted-in audience to their new adiPower® Predatorconversational nature to “build an opt-in database that would product line. The campaign was sent to people with a knownenable it to conduct future marketing efforts more efficiently and interest in sports and fashion. The mobile campaign was deliveredwould lay the groundwork for a loyalty program.” in the message recipient’s preferred language, and achieved a 28% response rate with Arabic audiences and 18.5% with EnglishMobile coupons are also a popular way to attract people’s speaking audiences.attention and encourage them to opt in to a mobile marketingprogram, as we saw in Geo-Targeted Shoppers Show Strong According to adidas’ marketing manager, Bugra Hatipoglu,Purchase Intent. “Working with Optism and Mobinil enabled our adiPower® Predator campaign to have more impact. The use of MMS to reachDeliver campaigns that are anticipated, a targeted audience allowed us to engage customers in a two-waypersonal and relevant conversation. We achieved an impressive 28% response rate and enriched our understanding of our customers.”Seth contrasts the million-dollar TV ads that car manufacturersrely on with permission-based campaigns in which car dealers Provide a positive experienceconnected directly with potential customers. The dealers used theirexisting knowledge of customers to build excitement about new Fittingly, Seth closes his case studies by looking at both My Yahoo!models. The information they provided customers was relevant and Yoyodyne, Seth’s direct marketing company which he has sincebecause it concerned brands the dealers knew the customers were sold to Yahoo! In both cases, people who raise their hands andinterested in. A series of contacts were made, with each providing provide permission are rewarded with special privileges. And ina bit more information on the chosen brand. One dealer engaged exchange for small amounts of personal information, they receivecustomers in a dialogue about their preferred features, so people advertising about products that suit their lifestyles.felt vested in the new car being introduced. Instead of the highlevel, untargeted messaging of a TV ad, people received personal Optism is also purpose-built to provide people with a positive,letters with relevant information and calls to action. Both dealers permission mobile marketing experience that lets customerswere extremely successful with their permission-based campaigns. control their own experiences. The customer identifies what areas he or she is interested in and can always choose to opt out.adidas® has found permission mobile marketing an effective way Dialogue-based campaigns enable marketers to develop a deeperto reach audiences with targeted messaging. Early in 2011, adidas understanding of what customers are interested in. Over time,used Optism-enabled Mobinil Ads to increase awareness and drive this understanding enables marketers to offer even more tailoredtraffic to a new Originals® store in Cairo. That campaign achieved experiences, so advertising is always relevant.a 35% response rate. Later in the year, adidas chose mobile toBlog Series
  19. 19. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 19Permission Marketing Chapter 11Evaluating a Permission Marketing ProgramDec 8, 2011In Chapter 11, Seth looks at the ten questions to ask when on incentives in our blog on getting down to business withevaluating any marketing program: conversational advertising.1. What’s the bait? We agree wholeheartedly with Seth, the bait doesn’t have to be a prize. “It could be a coupon, information about an interesting2. What does an incremental permission cost? subject, entertainment, or membership to a privileged group.” At3. How deep is the permission that is granted? Optism, we often discourage brands from using flashy prizes for4. How much does incremental frequency cost? opt-ins. That strategy tends to attract people who aren’t really interested in your messages, they’re simply interested in the prize.5. What’s the active response rate to communications? You want to invest your time and energy with people who are6. What are the issues regarding compression? genuinely interested in the kind of products and services you offer.7. Is the company treating the permission as an asset? Honor the permission being granted8. How is the permission being leveraged? Seth warns marketers to respect the level of permission granted.9. How is the permission level being increased? “If someone gives you the right to send him a catalog, that’s all he’s given you. Being overt about exactly what the consumer can10. What is the expected lifetime of one permission? expect ensures that there will be no misunderstandings and no canceled permissions.”All of these questions merit attention, but we’re going to focus in At Optism, we fully endorse this sentiment. Mobiles are veryon a few key ones that are highly relevant for a permission-based personal. People must feel confident that they are in control ofmobile marketing campaign. what they experience on their mobiles and transparency about what you are doing with their permission or information isWhat’s the bait? paramount.Seth makes it very clear that you must offer people a reward inexchange for raising their hands and providing you with their Increasing permission levels by building trustpermission. After all, they are giving you something very valuable – Seth writes, “Without proper care, the permission will fade. Buttheir attention. This is one area where creativity can really pay off. by focusing on how to earn more and more trust…the marketerSeth tells us, “marketers that offer better bait with a more obvious can increase the permission, making it a more valuable asset overbenefit will always attract more consumers than their competition.” time.” This is very true with mobile marketing as well. It’s importantHe also advises marketers to choose a bait that “resonates with to stay engaged with people over time. Mobile marketing is ideallythe product or service you offer.” That way, you’ll be more likely to suited to a conversational style of engagement with people, oneattract people who will be genuinely interested in your offering. in which you keep in contact and gradually learn more about each other and build trust over time.We’ve written in the past about offering compelling bait as partof our blog on opt-in best practices. We’ve also provided adviceBlog Series
  20. 20. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 20People have a very personal relationship with their mobiles, so you With permission mobile marketing, you can open a communicationneed to approach them in a very human way. In a recent Mobile channel that stays open indefinitely. If you keep up your end ofMarketing Association webinar, “Thinking Human: How to Optimize the bargain, there’s no reason for the permission to end. Deliverand Sustain Consumer Engagement” Optism’s Mihai Vlad explores content that is relevant and of value to your message you can use a human touch to demonstrate that your content Listen to what people tell you and pay close attention to theiris worth paying attention to. feedback, so you can continually refine your offerings to suit their preferences. Respect their wishes in terms of how youAiming for longevity communicate, the frequency of messages, preferred language, andAs Seth points out, the level of effort that goes into getting so on. Make sure you continue to merit their trust by safeguardingsomeone’s permission should be tempered by the anticipated the information they have shared with you and – by now it shouldlifespan of the permission. “If permission is transient…the amount go without saying – never, ever sell, trade or in any other waythe marketer is willing to invest should be less than it would be abuse the permission you have been granted. For more advicewhen the permission can last for a very long time.” on how to stay engaged with people, check out “Keeping the conversation going in permission mobile marketing.”Blog Series
  21. 21. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 21Permission Marketing Chapter 12Final questions and answersDec 14, 2011In Chapter 12, Seth answers frequently asked questions about Farmers do more preparation up front and ongoing work,permission marketing. Not all of these apply in today’s world or to “hoeing, planting, watering, and harvesting.” The payback is moremobile marketing, but we can learn valuable lessons from many of predictable, “but it takes regular effort and focus. If you take athem. The sections below cover a few that are particularly relevant month off, you might lose your entire crop.” The bonus for farmers,for mobile marketing. however, is that their approach scales. “Once you get good at it, you can plant ever more seeds and harvest ever more crops.”Do you need a website?No you don’t, says Seth. Permission marketing, he goes on, “works We definitely advocate that marketers consider mobile marketingin any medium where the consumer can be engaged in dialogue.” an investment. As your relationship deepens, your rewardsClearly, mobile fits the bill. In fact, mobile is ideally suited to will increase. We’ve seen it: the response rates achieved whendialogue. In addition to the obvious choice of voice, virtually every remarketing to a committed audience are well beyond anymobile phone on the planet supports basic (SMS) texting. As we’ve interruption marketer’s dreams.highlighted many times in this blog, SMS can be a very effectiveway to build relationships with people. The one-on-one connection How important is testing?between brand and consumer that a permission-based mobile Very! And this is certainly something that we would advocatemarketing campaign offers aligns perfectly with Seth’s doctrine of marketers do with mobile marketing campaigns. Seth writes,delivering messages that are “anticipated, personal, and relevant.” “Aggressively testing every element of a permission campaign canMobile marketing is also effective at what Seth calls “curriculum double or triple its effectiveness.”marketing” – slowly educating the consumer about your product andservices through an ongoing conversation. “You can use interactivity In our roundup of mobile marketing news, we’ve often coveredto gain information about your prospects in a dialogue.” As you each marketers who are testing different approaches. In September, forlearn more about the other, the relationship deepens and you can example, we looked at Mobile Marketer’s report on Macy’s andincrease the relevance of the information you provide. Bloomingdale’s testing of mobile devices to increase sales. In their digital marketing blog, Mobile Storm reminded its readers that, “InWhat’s the difference between permission marketing and what marketing to the mobile channel, it’s important to test all variablesyou’re doing now? to determine what produces the highest engagement, response and conversion. Elements like sending patterns, calls-to-action andIn this section, Seth introduces an analogy to illustrate the even the contact acquisition strategy all affect the success of yourdifference: interruption marketers are hunters; permission campaign in the end.” At Optism, we are able to provide marketersmarketers are farmers. and brands with detailed metrics on the success of any campaign very quickly, so messaging can be tweaked “on the fly” to maximizeHunters use lots of ammunition and just keep firing until they hit effectiveness.something. “You can take a day or a week or a month off from thisendeavor and it won’t take you long to get back into successfullybagging a few.”Blog Series
  22. 22. A Book Review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing Permission Marketing in the News 22What are the biggest stumbling blocks? white paper, “Building Permission Based Mobile Marketing.” On our website, we provide examples of campaign solutions, alongSeth focused on the challenges of initiating a new approach to with case studies of successful campaigns. In our briefing roommarketing from within an organization focused on interruption on MobileGroove, Peggy Anne Salz has feature podcasts andmarketing. In the past few years, we’ve seen similar challenges as interviews with leading ecosystem members that offer timelymarketers first approached mobile. The medium was unfamiliar advice from different perspectives. The web is alive with mobile– and admittedly presented some challenges to creative folks marketing advice from every corner of the globe.because of the various platforms. In the early days, there werefew roadmaps for how to do it or examples of brands making itwork. And everyone needed convincing that mobile was worth theeffort. That’s all changed today. When the world’s most recognized We hope you have enjoyed our chapter-by-chapterbrands, include Coca-Cola and Starbucks are leading with extensive review of Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing. Seth’smobile strategies, it’s clear mobile has “arrived.” At Mobile WorldCongress in February, CEO Eric Schmidt told us that at Google, “We subtitle for the book is “Turning strangers into friendsunderstand that the new rule is mobile first.” and friends into customers.” We’re tempted to write an additional subtitle, “Teaching marketers a whole newChapter 12 closes with an outline of the critical first steps Seth approach to marketing in our digital world” – a worldrecommends to anyone wanted to get started with permissionmarketing. We highly recommend you check this list out. In our that most definitely includes mobile.blogs, we’ve also highlighted places you can look for guidance ifyou’re just getting started with mobile marketing, including variousMobile Marketing Association publications, such as the MMACode of Conduct and U.S. Consumer Best Practices, and recentBlog Series