Copywriting 101: Permission Marketing in the 2020’s

Copywriting 101

While I don’t have the government’s permission to operate with the clients I do, that didn’t stop me from writing ads for seven figure businesses. Whose permission I will never get unless I focus on it. And just as I gave myself the permission, so too do these corporate giants we are about to discuss below.

And while I haven’t yet the media’s permission to sell my book in big department stores. That didn’t stop me from selling thousands of copies of ‘Strategy for Success’ to real people in 17 different countries across the planet.

But let’s take a look at some bigger dogs in the fight. And how they maximized their brand’s recognition and even profits, via permission marketing.

Permission Marketing

To clear things up right off the bat, however, when referencing ‘permission marketing’ I don’t mean Seth Godin’s definition of ‘permission marketing’ seen here. Although he might’ve invented the term, the #1 way to lose email subscribers is still by asking their permission to confirm their email when they’ve already typed it in and signed up… They just signed up and you’re already sending them spam. STOP.

Hence, why it’s nemesis, ‘interruption marketing’ is still so successful in all industries to this day. A great example is when sending cold emails to prospective clients whose work I know I could make better. Even though they’ve may have never heard of The Block Bard.

They’re surprised by this audacious bastard’s ability to not only have the balls(or whatever you want to call it/them) to message the C.E.O. But the knowledge to find said email, and critique respectfully their company’s campaign, or ad copy. (Key word here is: respectfully. No one is going to work with you after you just told them their advertising sucks… Believe me…)

The Bigger Dogs’ Take

When NIKE was just a wee little baby back in the swingin’ 60’s of Oregon, U.S.A., Adidas was already collaborating with FIFA and the Olympics. But that didn’t stop NIKE from honing in on partnerships with personal athletes; the same partnerships we see today, only with of course, different athletes; later to become the biggest sports brand by far.

But what does this have to do with permission marketing? Permission marketing is more or less the manufacturing of consent. And when the NBA banned Michael Jordan’s NIKE Air Force 1’s, they manufactured the consent or hype, for every baller outside of the NBA to buy those shoes. In other words 99% of their market audience.

In even more other words, getting something banned was probably their plan all along. And industries such as marketing and copywriting still remain somewhat underground in business schools because they haven’t created any scarcity/competition via regulation.


The magic at work here is a structure called social influence. Best personified with the old adage:

“If your best friend jumps of a bridge, would you?”

Maybe not, but to blow this philosophically preschool statement out of the water we need only ask:

“If half of your best friends jumped off a bridge, would you?”

And the best part is we don’t need to wait around for an answer because we already no while most people will say no, studies say differently.

Just like asking people if they truly see more value in a 99 cent item versus a dollar costing one, they will almost always answer no. Yet studies again say differently, otherwise we would have stopped seeing this mass-marketing method years ago.

And so we see, permission is created more often than it is asked…

You get the point.


Mackenzie Andres


Founder | Author | Head of Copy


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