Do I really need to mark up my pole with permanent marker?

Not really. I’ve found I can get it aligned about as well just by eyeballing it when I’m careful and take my time lining it up. And if you don’t get it on the first try, just peel the sticker off and try again. Easy! But if it’s aesthetics you’re concerned with, note that even “permanent” marker will easily wipe clean from a smooth pole shaft with a little alcohol. That’s part of the reason your kit comes with two alcohol wipes! Just be sure to catch it before you install the protective sleeve if it’s important to you.