Recommended Reading – Book Summaries

Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” -Anthony Volodkin, Hype Machine Founder

Here we share our own summaries of some of the Business Books we’ve read. If you would like to discuss any of our thoughts, we’d love to hear what you think!

Permission Marketing

Permission Marketing – Seth Godin   Rated 8/10

Interruption marketing is no longer effective at getting new customers, especially as the marketing “clutter” increases.

The average consumer sees 1m + marketing messages every year!

If you use interruption marketing to beat your competitors this time, you’ve just raised the bar, and will need to continually “try harder” to beat them in the future

Direct mail response rates of 2% are now considered very good

Interruption marketing has catch 22: the more you spend, the less it works, the less it works, the more you need to spend to get results

Consumers are now willing to pay to save time. Permission Marketing encourages consumers to participate in a long term interactive campaign in which they are rewarded for paying attention to relevant messages.

Permission marketing is anticipated (people expect your marketing), personal (to directly relate to them) & relevant (with something they are interested in).

Sending multiple personalized messages over time works better than single messages

5 steps to permission marketing:

1.Offer the prospect something of worth to them Must be overt, obvious and clearly defined

2.Using the attention offered by the consumer, offer a curriculum over time, teaching the prospect about your products / services

3.Reinforce the incentive to guarantee the prospect maintains the permission

4.Offer additional incentives to get more permission

5.Over time leverage the permission to change behaviours into profits

As each customer becomes worth more, the cost of losing one increases

Prospect life-cycle:
Strangers > Friends > Customers > Loyal Customers > Former Customers. At every step of the “ladder” trust grows, responsibility grows and profits grow.

Customer service becomes even more important

To start permission marketing, you need to ask for as little as possible, but with a big enough bribe. The bribe offered must be obvious and simple.

Need to build trust – trust means the prospect believes not only that the product being sold will solve his problems, but that if it doesn’t, the company will make good on its reputation of performance.

Frequency is important. Double the size of a fish and its weight increases by a factor of 4. Increase your marketing frequency by 100% and the effectiveness increases by 400%

100 seed, 100 watering cans with enough water to cover 1 seed for 1 day…. Either plant all 100 and the likelihood is all 100 will die…. Or plant 20, through 80 away, and use the water to cover all 20 for 5 days.

Jay Levinson : Need to run an add 27 times against one person. Only 1 in 9 ads is seen, and you need to see an ad 3 times before you take action.

In almost every industry, the most trusted brand is also the most profitable.

6 levels of permission:
Spam > Situation > Brand Trust > Personal Relationships > Points models > intravenous

Consumers want more than price. They want a combination of price, service, safety and comfort.

Don’t take permission for granted. It is also valuable for your competitors.

Points models work because they get more and more valuable as an attention metre

Customers like getting me-mail, not email

Personal relationship models don’t scale well, but the relationships can be priceless

Personal permission is the easiest way of moving people to the intravenous level

Permission is non-transferable, selfish, a process and can be cancelled at any time

Permission leveraged is permission enhanced. Permission rented is permission lost.

Marketing metaphor – Scheherazade’s fable…

Coherent web strategy:

1.What is the purpose

2.Can it be measured?

3.What is the cost of acquisition?

4.What is the cost of having the customer return?

5.Can this be scaled?

Internet benefits for marketers:

Law of permission: to maximise the value, you must maximise uniqueness, anticipation and overtness

Evaluating Permission marketing programme:

An interruption marketer is a hunter. A permission marketer is a farmer

In every market segment, only a limited number of companies will be able to secure permission

1.”Stamps” are free, as is frequency, and printing

2.Speed of testing is fast

3.Response rates are 15 times higher

4.Curriculum marketing can be via text and web

1.What’s the bait?

2.What does incremental permission cost?

3.How deep is the permission granted?

4.How much does incremental frequency cost?

5.What’s the active response rate to communications?

6.What are the issues regarding compression?

7.Is the company treating permission as an asset?

8.How is the permission leveraged?

9.How is the permission level being increased?

10.What is the expected lifetime value?

An interruption marketer is a hunter. A permission marketer is a farmer

In every market segment, only a limited number of companies will be able to secure permission

The Advantage – Patrick Lencioni  Rated 9.5/10

Cohesive Leadership Team

A small group of people who are collectively responsible for achieving a common objective

Between 3 and 12.

Trust: must be ‘vulnerability based’: be comfortable being transparent, honest and naked with one another.

– Get people to talk about their past and the most difficult challenge they had as a kid.

– Profile team: strengths and weaknesses.

Conflict: productive ideological conflict – the pursuit of truth and attempt to find the best answer.

– During meetings, look for and expose potential disagreement.

– Leader to interrupt giving immediate positive feedback…. give permission to have disagreement.

Commitment: must leave the meeting with an unambiguous commitment to a common course of action.

Accountability: Peer to Peer: hold each other accountable.

Results: team must be focused on same priorities, “rowing in the same direction”.

– Must put the needs of the team above the needs of individual departments.

2. Create Clarity – Team Alignment

– 6 Critical Questions!

– No ‘one’ right answer.

“A good plan violently executed today is better than a perfect plan expected not to work.”

Why do we exist?

“How do we contribute to a better world?”

– Keep asking ‘Why?’ until you identify the most idealistic reason for being in business.

– Customer: Why serve them?

– Industry: Why this one?

– Greater cause.

– Community.

– Employees.

– Wealth.

All of the above are different categories for ‘Why?”

How do we behave?

Ensuring successful companies adhere to a fundamental set of principles.

Core Values

Just 2 or 3 behavioural traits.


“Wants to have” values.

Purposefully inserted into the culture.


Evident waits, but unintentional and may serve no purpose.

Permission to play

Minimum behavioural standards e.g. honesty, integrity, respect.

What do we do? “Business Definition”

– Must be clear and straightforward.

– Can change over time.

How will we succeed?

– A plan for success: collection of intentional decisions to give the best chance to thrive and differentiate from competition.

– Start by creating an exhaustive list of all the decisions and realities that form the context of the current situation.

– Collect similar items together into strategic anchors.

– These change whenever the competitive landscape shifts and market conditions call for a different approach.

What is most important Right Now?

Thematic Goal “Rallying Cry”

– Single out the one thing that is most important.

– Qualitative.

– Temporary.

– Shared across the team.

Provides the leadership team with the CLARITY on how to spend its time.

Define objectives: general activities required to achieve the thematic goal. Maximum 3-6 objectives.

Shared operating objectives: ongoing and relatively straight forward metrics and areas of responsibility to maintain and stay in business.

Put all into a one page model: (The Playbook).

Laminate and always have available.

– Refer to it when making decisions.

Who must do what?

– Clearly and unambiguously stipulate everyone’s respective responsibilities.

3. Overcommunicate Clarity

– Need to tell teams AT LEAST 7 times!! Leader = Chief Reminding Officer.

– Cascading communication – telling ‘true rumours’.

– Have a clear message, promptly communicated.

3 Keys – Message consistency.

– Timeliness of delivery.

– Real time communication.

4. Reinforce Clarity

– Every human system must reinforce the answers to the 6 critical questions.

– Use simple systems.

Great Meetings

Administrative issues- Daily check-in- 5-10 mins

Technical issues- Weekly staff- 45-90 mins

Strategic issues- Adhoc/Topical- 2-4 hours

Development- Quarterly offsite review- 1-2 days