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Interruption and permission marketing by Matt Ottewill (March 2014)

Understanding the distinction between interruption and permission marketing is essential for anyone seeking to understand how customers will perceive a business and the development of a marketing strategy.

Interruption marketing

Interruption marketing is the traditional model of trying to distract your attention away from what you are doing (TV and radio ads, spam email etc). Interruption marketing has become less and less successful as audiences have become more sophisticated. In the online space, not only is interruption marketing less successful, but often illegal. YouTube is an exception, with the introduction of old interruption broadcasting marketing techniques in the form of pre, post, and in-programme ads.

Most channels try to target their interruption marketing by gathering and using meta-data about you, your browsing habits, and purchasing history. This means that you may notice ads becoming more relevant to your interests. However relevant they are, you have not asked for them so they still fall into the category of interruption marketing.

Permission marketing

Today digital marketing systems are increasingly predicated on permission marketing techniques. Permission marketing is a phrase coined by marketing guru Seth Goddin to describe a marketing method which encourages and then responds to interest expressed by potential customers. We give permission whenever we subscribe to a emailing list, or buy something and agree to let the seller send us information about new products and services.

So, a visitor or follower becomes a lead when they offer some personal information (email, age, likes etc) and indicate that they are interested in you and your music by giving you permission to contact them.

Spam email is marketing emails which have been sent to us without our explicit permission. Spam is not only illegal, but can seriously damage a businesses online reputation.