I’m still figuring out marketing, but what I have learned is that consent is the big word, the holy grail, the thing we crave of our audience. In this blog post originally posted on Engaging Times I have a bit of a think about it’s value..

Consent is the point of engagement, the moment our marketing message is delivered, when someone is listening or responding to our message. Our chance to communicate, educate or persuade.

Consent has a value.

What is the difference between a successful e-mail campaign and spam? It’s consent. It is the value of my marketing database. It’s the difference between having an e-mail address  and a customer or prospect record. I have contact details of people that will pick up the phone to me, that will respond to my offers, that will open my emails.

As consumers, maybe we should give that some thought. Maybe we give up our consent too easily, too cheaply. What am I getting in return for giving you this e-mail address? For joining this loyalty program?

The problem is if we don’t value consent, than we then start getting e-mails we never read and offers that we trash. We are in effect bringing down the value of consent.

Consent should be the start of an engagement, not a tick box on a contact form and a hope that our spam filters will destroy the worst and we’ll ignore the rest.

But, it’s not just consumers that are bringing down the value of consent. A few weeks ago I was talking to an e-mail marketer at an event, who astonished me by saying that he was very happy carpet bombing the world with his e-mails about horoscopes.

If the value of consent were higher, then maybe both the marketer and the consumer would invest more into it, maybe the relationship would become more trusted.

Or maybe we need to think about the value of the level of consent that we have with our audience. Differentiate the level of engagement between someone receiving your e-mail and reading it, from coming to your homepage as a visitor to staying and downloading a white paper, tweeting your content or returning to read more tomorrow.

Maybe these highly engaged “consenting adults” should be on the balance sheet….