In marketing (and Marketing), we see some pretty cheeky things. The best bring smiles to our faces, while the worst leave us gobsmacked, wondering how someone could possibly have suggested such a thing.

The latter has a lot to do with permission marketing, and last night I came face to face with it, getting back to my car and realising the place I had it serviced at last had put a sticker on my back window without asking or telling me.

Prior this I had really good feelings about them. Understand, Id have trouble changing a tire, my interest in cars is on par with my general feelings towards pot pourri or the mating habits of sea lice. With this in mind, they had been great at what they did, I always felt comfortable, they talked me through everything, even sent a follow-up letter a week later thanking me for coming in. They had done everything right.

Until now. Now I dont trust them. Now I dont want to take my car back to them. Now the open conversation and full disclosure is over-shadowed with the manifestation of a worry their work isnt good enough so they have to sneak their message out any way they can, because we, the customer, wont talk about it. The thing is I had, and Id recommended them to my friends.

Permission marketing is just that, it requires permission. Otherwise youre just forcing yourself on people, and that doesnt work anymore. Earn peoples trust, respect their time AND their dollar. Dont try to put words in their mouths, because that only works as long as youre in the room, and you dont have time to be there in the room with everyone of your customers (even if you did, youd just breed resentment, not loyalty).

Let your work speak for itself. If it doesnt, youre clearly in the wrong business.