Understanding Permission

Understanding Permission

GUEST POST from Geoffrey A. Moore

Permission is one of the most powerful concepts in strategic marketing, but it is an easy one to misinterpret if you are not careful. Here are five things you need to know:

1. Permission is anchored in the idea of what the world wants your company to be.

It may surprise you that the world has an agenda for your company, but it does—even if it has never heard of you. The world has unmet needs, and it is always looking for someone credible to enlist in meeting those needs. If you are a start-up, then you are credible at being highly disruptive. If you are an established and vibrant enterprise, then you are credible as a responsible steward. If you are an aging enterprise looking to rejuvenate, then you are credible as an agent of change within a conservative community.

2. Permission means you get more than one bite at the apple.

It means the customer base, and even the industry ecosystem, are willing to cut you some slack because, in their view, you represent the best chance for them to accomplish their agenda. In effect, you are granted a competitive advantage out of the box, given a status that none of your peers are getting. It is an amazing gift and is key both to start-up successes and enterprise turnarounds.

3. Permission is absolutely necessary at the point of business transformation.

There are plenty of times when you can overcome lack of permission through tenacious persistence, but not at the point of transformation. When you are turning the boat, when you are changing the direction of your enterprise, when you are entering a new space, your first encounters need to be with natural allies. They may not have bought in just yet, but they must be naturally aligned with your agenda, or you need to go elsewhere. You are simply too vulnerable otherwise.

4. Permission is an invitation to display generosity.

The prize you are after is a relationship of trust, one which will cause your target customers to privilege your company above other vendors. That’s what will secure your future in the new world. To accelerate getting to that point, begin with acts of strategic generosity, ones that demonstrate respect for the challenges your customers are hoping you can solve, and evidence that you have the wherewithal to solve them. Get these offers in play ASAP, and let the market’s viral properties drag you forward.

5. Permission has a sell-by date.

When issues and concerns come to the fore, there is a period of several years during which the pragmatist herd will wait to see who is going to step up to meet its new set of needs. If you have the wherewithal to lean in at this time but hold back instead, perhaps because you fear you will cannibalize some other aging product line, you will not be forgiven downstream. Gather the rosebuds while ye may.

That’s what I think. What do you think?

Image Credit: Unsplash

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