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Take This Quick Test to See if Your Permission Marketing Strategy Is Up to Date

surveyAs the ability to use advertising networks and remarketing powered by third-party cookies diminishes, marketing experts believe organizations will have to take a closer look at how they identify and build relationships with customers and the people most likely to buy. The good news is that once in place a permission-based marketing strategy offers significant financial and experiential advantages over traditional advertising-based marketing.
Identifying and Building Relationships With the People Most Likely to Buy
Use This Checklist to Grade Your Permission Marketing

Customers and legal authorities are increasingly concerned about privacy and permission. Customers are increasingly fickle in their loyalties with a greater focus on companies that keey their promises, with ever increasing cynicism about claims made in advertising. The coming European Union Corporate Sustainability Directive will require many of the world's leading brands to make unprecedented disclosures about their commitments to customers, employees, supply chain and distribution partners, and communities. 

Now, to make matters worse, a process many marketers have come to depend upon using advertising networks and remarketing techniques that made it relatively easy and inexpensive to target their advertising is coming to an end. With the decision of major web browsers to no longer support third-party cookies, most observers believe that marketers will have to increase their focus on gaining permission from people to accept their marketing messages, as outlined in this recent ESM article, Does the End of Third-Party Cookies Spell the Return of Permission Marketing? As explained, these and other factors will drive an inevitable focus on gaining permission, applying an integrated approach to communications and engagement, active listening to all stakeholders, meaningful metrics, and more. 
To benchmark your organization’s marketing practices against a survey of other companies, click here to take a five minute or less anonymous survey. Your organization’s score is available immediately; final survey results will be published in October after the survey closes Sept. 30, 2023.

Identifying and Building Relationships With the People Most Likely to Buy

Today, marketing is increasingly about identifying and building permission-based relationships with customers and the people most likely to buy through the use of ongoing content and other engagement tactics. All processes are equally focused on all stakeholders—not only customers, but employees, distribution and supply chain partners, and communities--with as much alignment as appropriate to ensure collaborative actions.
Fortunately, permission marketing offers outstanding benefits in terms of economy and scale, because it enables organizations to reduce (but by no means eliminate) the use of broader advertising, event marketing, or charitable activities that can help build permission-based databases but with a lot of waste. Only so many people are ever going to be a customer for any product or service, and no media platform can guarantee what percentage of their audience is even a prospect for any brand, product or service, so having clear permission-metrics can over time help determine the activities with the most value.
The efficiencies of permission marketing come from having a highly engaged audience with whom your organization is in direct contact to communicate and measure the impact over time without having to pay a third-party media company with its own rules and conditions for sharing your content. (These media platforms still play a critical role in building your brand, credibility and to generate more subscribers or opt-ins from qualified people.) The only obligation is to use the permission you earn wisely at the risk of losing it if your approach is too self-serving.

Use This Checklist to Grade Your Permission Marketing

Here's a checklist you can use to quickly determine the maturity of your organization’s permission marketing strategies.
To benchmark your organization’s marketing practices against a survey of other companies, click here to take a five minute or less anonymous survey. Your organization’s score is available immediately; final survey results will be published in October after the survey closes Sept. 30, 2023.
Critical Elements Your Organization’s Practices Yes/No
1. Your organization has a clearly defined purpose, goals, and objectives with a process for updating it over time as circumstances change.  
  • Your organization has a clear purpose, goals and objectives that are updated each year in a highly collaborative way with all your stakeholders, so they have a clear sense of voice and buy-in.
2. Your marketing communications strategy fosters alignment across all stakeholders.
  • Every department in the organization, including human resources, finance, operations, manufacturing, sales, and marketing, uses the purpose, goals, and objectives as the basis for its overall strategy and tactics so that the purpose, goals, and objectives are continually reinforced consistently across the organization in the manner most appropriate to each team.
  • Almost all external marketing initiatives are rolled out first to employees or other internal stakeholders to ensure buy-in and understanding.
  • Your stakeholders are encouraged to participate in your social media strategy as appropriate to their role.
3. Your organization has a strategic and systematic approach to linking marketing, sales, customer service, and operations.
  • Your organization has a strategic and systematic approach to building a permission-based database of prospects and customers, measured by the size, demographics, and engagement of that audience and it’s relationship to sales and referrals. This could consist of an enterprise technology that supports engagement across the enterprise.
  • Marketing targets all stakeholders with the same message as appropriate to end-customers to ensure alignment.
4. Your marketing department has clear metrics that are regularly monitored, shared, and used to manage priorities.
  • Your organization has measures specifically aligned to the organization’s purpose, goals, and objectives, based as much as possible on quantitative and behavioral data of all stakeholders—customers, employees, supply chain and distribution partners, communities—in a way that can be linked to financial results.
  • These include such measures as employee or customer referrals, loyalty, productivity, suggestions, safety, wellness, etc., aligned with organizational priorities.
  • Metrics include: the size and growth of the permission database; the percent of whom are customers; activity of customers versus non-customers; customer referrals, turnover, and customer ratings, and revenues, costs, and profitability per customer. (These can be correlated with similar data amont the workforce.) 
  • Other metrics include, when possible, which trade shows, events, advertising, promotions, or other activities added the most qualified prospects to the overall permission database.

5. Your organization has a clear permission-based database management process.
  • Your organization has an easily accessible but secure inventory of GDPR compliant permission-based databases organized by type of stakeholder and permission, i.e., first-party cookie, e-mail, phone, or other form of opt-in, as well as a means of maintaining it.
  • For larger companies, third-party experts provide this service on an outsourced basis. For smaller companies, it’s easier than it seems.
6. Your organization has a cross-functional management system that is focused on purpose, goals, objectives and promise delivery, with a regular meeting cycle, action plan, and follow up process.
  • Your organization has a scheduled process for cross-functional update meetings to review results against the plan, with all key players representing relevant stakeholders present to address any pressing issues or opportunities. Results are documented and added to the to-do list for the next scheduled meeting or other designed date, always with clear roles and responsibilities.
7. Your company employs an enterprise engagement technology to streamline and better align engagement tactics across the organization.
  • Your company is using the ability for most organizations to easily integrate all the key engagement levers on one platform across all stakeholders and departments (increasingly known as enterprise engagement technology), providing an unprecedented opportunity to correlate key outcomes, including loyalty, referrals, suggestions, wellness, safety, engagement, sales, etc. with activities on the engagement platform.
8. Your communications department studies personas and media preferences for all stakeholders and regularly updates them as needed.  
  • The marketing department has mapped out a set of general personas for all key customers and other stakeholders along with their interests, needs, and expectations and their preferred ways to receive which types of communications (video, text, podcast, games, etc.) and otherwise interact with the organization.
9. Your marketing/
communications department has a strategic content game plan, schedule, and evaluation process.
  • Based on the evaluation of your stakeholder interests, your organization has defined a content strategy and schedule appropriate to the desired frequency of the audience, with regular reporting to evaluate engagement.
  • As appropriate, your organization partners with independent media, events, or other platforms so that your thought leadership is validated by third-party publication rather than always being published on your own platforms, often perceived as “vanity” publishing.
  • Your marketing department employees journalists, authors, video entertainment, event or game specialists to create content in addition to marketing copywriters.
  • When using case studies, you make sure to name the company with its permission, preferably with a quote from the client. Anonymous case studies are of little value. 
10.  The content focuses on your stakeholders, not your organization.  
  • Your content focuses on the needs, interests, and desires of your stakeholders, not on your organization’s accomplishments, except to the extent such news helps them.( A frequent mistake is to focus content too much on what your company is proud of sharing, forgetting that most outsiders don’t share the enthusiasm for your accomplishments as they do for their own or those of loved ones.) 
  • Your social media strategy encourages "liking" or "sharing" content from stakeholders or other sources of interest to your organization's communities.
11.  Your organization has an active stakeholder listening strategy.
  • You actively encourage referrals, reviews, and suggestions from all stakeholders, with tangible rewards commensurate with their value to the organization and an active private and public feedback process as appropriate for all serious input.
  • You actively respond to any serious stakeholder who takes the time to engage.
12. Your organization has a formal measurement and continuous improvement process.

  • Over the course of the year, your organization reviews all key metrics, and makes adjustments on frequency, tone, nature of content, and effectiveness of coordination with sales, customer service or other relevant stakeholders.
  • Toward the end of the year, the entire team gathers and, using direct input from all stakeholders, formulates updated strategies, with even a review of the purpose, goals, and objectives based on any fundamental changes in circumstances.
13. Your organization publishes a corporate sustainability report.
  • To demonstrate factually how it keeps its promises to all stakeholders, including customers, employees, supply chain and distribution partners, the community, and the environment, your organization publishes an annual corporate sustainability report that discloses its purpose, goals objectives; the methods by which it delivers its promises to all stakeholders and the metrics and processes used to continuously improve. 
Your organization’s score.
  • Anything much less than a 100% score indicates the lack of the necessary strategic and systematic approach to identifying and building relationships with the people most likely to buy through a permission-based marketing strategy.

For More Information  

Bruce Bolger, Founder
The Enterprise Engagement Alliance at
914-591-7600, ext. 230

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