Marketing Strategy: Are You Interrupting My Dinner?

Interrupting DinnerHas this happened to you lately? You’re having dinner with the family and the phone rings. On the line, an annoying marketer trying to sell you something you really don’t care about! Feeling aggravated and disrespected from such an interruption, you just hang-up!

Interruption Marketing

Traditional marketing is often thought of as interruption marketing and usually includes a strategy that focuses on finding customers by creating brand awareness through different forms of advertising. It typically targets a general audience using television ads, print ads, telemarketing, cold calls, direct mail, unsolicited e-mails, etc

  • “Interruption”-based:  Average response rate: 1-5% (

Traditional marketing doesn’t work as well anymore because we have learned to ignore it. The average person today is inundated with over 2000 outbound marketing interruptions per day (Brian Halligan, HubSpot). Consumers also have more control to prevent advertisers and marketers from disrupting their lives such as caller id, Do Not Call lists, spam software, etc.

“Audiences everywhere are tough. They don’t have time to be bored or brow beaten by orthodox, old-fashioned advertising. We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people are interested in.” Craig Davis

Permission Marketing

Permission marketing is marketing without interruptions.

This type of marketing entails that people give businesses permission to send their promotional message or offer. It can also be an implied permission such as people using search engines like Google or Yahoo to search for a specific business in order to find a product or service.

In general, permission marketing will use inbound marketing strategies that focuses on getting found by customers. Inbound marketing can include: blogging, SEO (search engine optimization), social media, Opt-in email marketing, etc. Inbound marketing only targets people who express an interest in your content, product or service.

“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention. Permission is like dating. You don’t start by asking for the sale at first impression. You earn the right, over time, bit by bit”. Seth Godin

  •  “Permission”-based: Average response rate 20-50% (

This doesn’t mean that only one method is the right one. Both strategies can be used successfully and under the right conditions, interruption marketing can be appropriate and effective. The point here is that business owners and marketers have to change their mindset and accept that consumer behaviour has changed. Marketing strategies have to change and evolve along with it or businesses run the risk of getting left behind in the dust!

How has your marketing strategy changed over time?

Image: 7thsens /

Genevieve Lachance is a web marketing consultant who has a passion for social media and technology based in Montreal, Canada. Read More About Me »