Permission marketing was thought to be the salvation to getting connected to customers, and simultaneously getting control of spam. Well, we're experiencing it now, and it has some nasty side effects.
Here's one that I seem to be experiencing several times a week, and maybe you are too. [Or maybe you are in charge of a program like this, and just never gave it any thought.]
The bad old way:
 We got your address and just sent you stuff, like it or not
 Once we got your e-mail address, we just sent you stuff electronically, like it or not
The even worse new way:
 We call you to check if we can send you stuff. This is important, since we don't want to be spammers. We only want to send out material when we have your permission.
 If you agree, we ask you to confirm all your details, including e-mail. We may ask you a few other qualifying questions about your company. Don't worry that you're not getting any information here, it's all going to be in the informative attachment.
 We send you some e-mail -- usually it has an attachment that is a PDF file of a PowerPoint or a brochure.
 We call back later to enquire if you have read it. You did give us permission to send it. Is there some reason you haven't read it?
 If you haven't had time to read it, that's okay, we'll diarize to call you again.
 Still haven't read it? No problem, we'll keep calling.
What's the problem here:
Most of these programs are run by people who have no ability to answer questions about the company or its services. If they are salespeople, they don't want to take the time.
If you ask them questions, they tell you that the information is contained in the PDF, if you would just agree to let them send it to you.They would really like you to read it first, and THEN call with your questions.
Typically, these organizations know totally nothing about the company they are calling. [That would be me, my company. Or you and your company. They haven't read our web site. They haven't read our directory listings. They haven't read your stuff either. They have invested nothing so far.]
Even if I tell them I'm not interested because we don't do that type of work, they want to send me stuff anyway. And they call back anyway. They think my needs might change in future, and they would like permission to keep in touch.
Someone, somewhere, thinks this is good direct marketing. I hope you're not one of them.
Go back to the past to find the future -- find a real sales person:
Here's the thing. My boutique organization is getting two to three calls like this each week, and on rough weeks, two to three calls like this a day. I'm starting to not take calls from numbers I don't recognize. Just how much traction do you think you can get from this approach?
Real sales people talk to prospects. They don't waste their time talking to non-prospects. And they do this quickly and politely. I've encountered a few -- they are out there, and you can hire them if you look. They are worth their weight in mailing lists.
Before you embark on a program like this, ask yourself why anyone should invest any time at all reading about your company if you haven't invested in reading about theirs.