Whiskers and Cheese

Seth Godin, a well-regarded and closely followed marketing blogger and author, said back in 1999 that the way to approach marketing now is through Permission Marketing. Permission Marketing incorporates:

  • Providing Information
  • Educating your customer and
  • Allowing them to take action on their own terms.

It’s about building a conversation with your client. Building a one-to-one relationship that lets them determine when to take action.

This works especially well with Millennials – those up and coming consumers who were born between 1980 and 2000. Older consumers are used to the traditional beat-you-over-the-head marketing approach. The Millennials are immune to it.

I find a useful way to think about Permission Marketing is with the analogy of Whiskers and Cheese.  The concept of Whiskers and Cheese originally came from Dean Jackson and his good friend, Joe Polish, who have produced a series of useful and entertaining podcasts about marketing.

Think of the whiskers as that heavy-handed marketing approach. You immediately sense the cat, the company looking to make that next sale. It’s all about the cat.  The cheese, on the other hand, is really about the mouse.

While I hate being compared to a mouse, we at the most basic level are emotionally wired like them. They’re trying to avoid pain and seek out pleasure.

So as you’re designing and executing your marketing initiatives, think about how to attract your customers. Clip your whiskers and give them cheese – information, education and decision-making control.

Some of you may offer them direct information; others will send them to useful places to gain more knowledge. Whatever it is, you are helping them make a more informed decision.  And today that is what more and more consumers are looking for.

A cheese relationship is a conversation. It’s Permission Marketing. And when you are sharing information, you are in a much better position to present your customer with actionable items – actions that they will permit you to present. Actions they will be more confident to take.

Speaking of taking action, I mentioned earlier that Dean and Joe have created some interesting podcasts with novel ways of thinking about marketing. You can find them at I encourage you to take a listen.

And remember what Peter Drucker observed:  business is only about two things: marketing and innovation.  So resist the whiskers and invest your 50% in producing cheese.

Next week we’ll talk about innovation. Save yourself some time, sign up for our blog today and we’ll send you a friendly reminder.

So until next time, enjoy!

Send me your response, query or comment to


book img2

A Comprehensive Guide To Safeguarding Your Financial and Family Wealth.

Subscribe to our blog

Looking for Something?

Coyle Financial
Counsel Events

Recommended Reading

book img3
Download Free Chapter on
Lifelong Learning

Watch More Videos