Google’s Priority Inbox is a Harbinger

By February 23, 2011 Email Marketing No Comments

Google’s new priority inbox feature gives Gmail users a tool for prioritzing and segmenting their incoming email into three categories: Important and unread, Starred, and Everything else. It does this automatically, in the background by observing a variety of “importance indicators” or signals: who you’ve emailed and chatted with most, email opens, email click throughs, number of addresses, and which keywords appear frequently in the messages you opened recently.   Users can “train” Priority Inbox about what is more or less important to them by clicking +/- and also by simplying using the feature (thus providing more history and activity data).

Obviously, the goal is help users focus their email time on messages and senders that are most important to them.  Good for users.  But what does this mean for email marketing?

I agree with John Murphy’s take (President of ReachMail).  I think this is just the beginning of more changes to come in the inbox.  And I think it’s a good thing.

Most of us are buried with email — each one equally vying for our attention. The typical inbox environment has two levels: “spam” and “in”. This feature purposefully un-levels the inbox playing field.  The winners will be the ones who deliver relevant messages and content that is actually desired and used by the reader.  Yes, email marketing just got harder — but it should.

We have to earn permission to communicate with people.  And we have to keep earning that permission (and hopefully growing it) with each interaction.  That is a fact.  Priority Inbox  just made lazy marketing less effective.  Oh well.

But this isn’t really new.  Google Priority Inbox is simply trying to automate what is already happening when people scroll through their inbox and manually filter their email.  We all know the internal conversation: “Trash. Trash.  Not relevant.  Unimportant.  Not now.  Spam. RELEVANT! (open)”

Bye bye batch-and-blast.  Hello relevance. Contact us today and learn how we implement permission marketing with relevant content.

Author John Common

More posts by John Common

John is Intelligent Demand’s founder, chief strategist and CEO. His energy and enthusiasm for transforming companies with modern approaches to marketing, sales, and customer success is palpable. He’ll happily geek out with you during a 2-hour conversation about your customer journey. He’ll cover any whiteboard or tablecloth in sight with revenue growth strategies, messaging concepts, and program designs. But his primary passion is connecting those ideas to highly executable programs that deliver measurable results.

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