Can Big Data Spur the Adoption of Permission Marketing?


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If you ever open up your mailbox and see a bunch of spam emails, you’re not alone. Though there have been efforts to crack down on the annoying practice, spam still affects us all to varying degrees. Even when spam emails are kept to a minimum, advertising and marketing in general have become much more targeted and aggressive, pushing products and services to the individual, oftentimes when they don’t want it. In recent years, marketers have developed a possible solution to these inconveniences called permission marketing to reach new and existing customers. While permission marketing is still in the early stages of being adopted, businesses see big data as a crucial element that could aid in the new strategy’s spread.

Email marketing has long been seen as a viable option for advertising purposes. Companies were able to create more personalized advertisements and offers from data collected from customers’ behavior on the internet. But this tactic has been met with criticism and even the threat of legislation, which would restrict this targeting and particular big data use. That’s why so many organizations are turning to permission marketing instead, where a prospect agrees in advance to receive product information and offers, like in an opt-in email for example. Advocates for this marketing strategy say it cuts down on the amount of spam and other unwanted emails while preserving a customer’s privacy.

This sense of privacy has been shown to be very important to customers. According to the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University, 80% of customers are opposed to companies scanning their emails to get information on their interests. When companies gather information about customers without their consent, they feel a sense of violation, and distrust grows. In essence, people just don’t like having so little control over what happens to their personal information.

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With permission marketing, companies can show greater concern for people’s privacy by adopting consent as part of their advertising strategy. This consent agreement goes beyond simply presenting unchecked boxes for an opt-in email whenever somebody uses a website or purchases something online; it also should involve a Preference Center. The is a menu-based feature that gives customers the chance to customize even more about how companies reach out to them, like contact frequency, topic preferences, and outreach methods. The Preference Center gives customers a great deal of control over what and how information is used. This sense of control and consent allows customers to have more trust in a company, spurring more customer loyalty. Companies who enact this type of permission marketing will also gain a more positive reputation while having fewer customers who choose to opt-out of everything.

Permission marketing has been around for a while, but its widespread use is now far more likely thanks to the rise of big data. The amount of data that needs to be collected, stored, and processed for permission marketing to be effective is vast, but businesses are able to do this as they adopt better storage practices like using flash storage vs. hard drive. The sources of data needed for this email marketing is already diverse, from campaign and website data, which track and record customer responses and behavior, to company cross-channel outcomes data, which deals more in predictive analytics. Couple those sources with added data from permission marketing options and preference centers, and it’s easy to see how big data is needed to truly see permission marketing take off.

The benefits to this approach often mirror those of email marketing itself, only with more added benefits on top thanks to having the customer’s consent. By keeping track of each customer’s preferences regarding products and offers, companies have more information to better craft campaigns targeted toward individual customers through personalization. Big data can help fuel this by personalizing these offers based on time and place, while also delivering more focused content. These strategies will lead to more satisfied customers and a better understanding of what drives them.

Permission marketing is expected to be one of the dominant forms of marketing within the next few years. With the spread of big data, permission marketing is only expected to grow. As long as companies utilize these strategies effectively while showing their transparency when it comes to the all-important issue of privacy, customers will respond positively. The day may soon come when spam and annoying emails are a thing of the past.

Rick Delgado
Freelance Writer
I've been blessed to have a successful career and have recently taken a step back to pursue my passion of writing. I've started doing freelance writing and I love to write about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet. I also occasionally write for tech companies like Dell.


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