Interacting with Your Customers
Underlying Amazon.com's success in communicating with customers is the fact that customers have given the company permission to contact them. Companies that ask for customers' cooperation engage in permission marketing. The big advantage is focusing on an audience of people who have already shown an interest in what they have to offer. Compare this approach with mass marketing – the practice of sending out messages to a vast audience of anonymous people. If you advertise on TV, you're hoping that people will listen, even though you're interrupting them; that's why some marketers call such standard approaches interruption marketing. Remember, however, that permission marketing isn't free. Because winning and keeping customers means giving them incentives, Caesars lets high rollers sleep and eat free (or at a deep discount), Norwegian Cruise Line gives members of its past guest program, Latitudes, discounts on sailings, priority check-in, and members-only cocktail parties. Customer-relations management and permission marketing have actually been around for a long time. But recent advances in technology, especially the Internet, now allow companies to practice these approaches in more cost-effective ways.