An Exploration of the Value of Permission Marketing as an Interactive Communications Tool for Building Customer Relationships

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An Exploration of the Value of Permission Marketing as an Interactive Communications Tool for Building Customer Relationships

Student Name: Laura Phelan

This thesis is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Degree of Master of Business Studies, Waterford Institute of Technology

Research Supervisor: Dr. Claire Gately

Submitted to: Waterford Institute of Technology

Month: August Date: 26th Year: 2011


Abstract: Introduction: This thesis is centred on the topic of Permission based marketing and its value as an interactive tool for initiating and building customer relationships through contemporary digital channels which include E-mail, Social Media and Mobile phones. Traditional media channels are becoming progressively more cluttered and the efficacy of mass media communications has diminished significantly. In the new digital age of consumer empowerment Marketers are searching for new and novel ways to connect with their customers.

Research Objectives and Aims: The purpose of this study is to explore the validity of the statement ‘An Exploration of the Value of Permission Marketing as an Interactive Communications Tool for Building Customer Relationships‟, from the perspective that asking the consumers permission to communicate with them can have a positive effect on the future nature of the relationship and create customer value through the formation of reciprocal relationships thus engendering customer loyalty.

Literature Review: The literature review is separated into two chapters, Chapter two explores topics which underpin the research statement such as the significance of getting permission, the rationale behind customer relationships, Strategies Firms may Employ in Order to Enhance Customer Relationships, the significance of interactivity in customer relationships. Chapter Three addresses the realities facing marketers engaged and outlines how permission marketing can deliver value for the consumer in permission marketing with topics such as factors affecting permission marketing, mediated versus un-mediated communications. This chapter also compares and contrasts the inherent difficulties and unique advantages of communicating with customer through via the three digital channels outlined above. A conceptual framework based on the extant permission and relationship marketing literature is proposed which encompasses the permission marketing process.


Methodology: For the purpose of this dissertation a qualitative, exploratory approach was utilized to satisfy the research objectives and inform the research statement. Four in-depth, face to face interviews were conducted with marketing managers and professionals who practice permission marketing through contemporary digital channels.

Findings: The primary findings illustrated that permission based communications can create value for the customer by enlisting them in the co creation of meaning, providing them with relevant and context specific information at times of need and engaging them in the marketing process. Outcomes of this process include customer loyalty, marketplace differentiation resulting from consumer informed products and services and strong customer-brand relationships.

Conclusion: In conclusion permission marketing represents a unique way for marketers to involve the consumer in the marketing process, utilize them as a valuable source of knowledge to inform the design of future products, communications and services and establish reciprocal relationships with a wide range of demographics, generating value for both sides



To Richard Phelan who instilled in me a love for knowledge that will last a lifetime, To Gemma Fitzgerald who gave me a love of life, To Adrian, Audrey, Richie and Peck who make me live laugh and love everyday, Thank you. To my thesis supervisor Dr. Claire Gately, without whose constant guidance and support I would never have finished this. Thank...
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