Would you rather have someone tell you something interesting that's of immediate use...or would you prefer to be interrupted while paying attention to something else? That may be a dumb question, but it lies at the heart of what's wrong with most marketing today.
Buyers today are more empowered than ever before. The web provides them with instant access to detailed specs, pricing, and reviews. Meanwhile, social media encourages them to share and compare information, and mobile devices add a wherever/whenever dimension to the whole experience. This is why traditional marketing tactics (like advertising, direct mail, and cold calling), which are based on interrupting potential buyers while they are paying attention to something else, are becoming less and less effective.
Consumers want to make smart, educated choices. Evidence suggests that more and more, buyers are doing their own research and moving most of the way towards a purchasing decision before ever engaging in the traditional sales process. That's good news for the marketer who understands and works with this trend, instead of against it.
It's clear that a permission-based approach is going to be more effective than an interruption-based one. Marketing that is helpful to and addresses the needs of the customer, instead of the needs of the marketer is bound to get better results. That's the main idea behind an approach called inbound marketing, and it's something you probably ought to know more about.