Marketing Pilgrim's "Email Marketing" Channel

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New Gmail Inbox Puts Your Marketing Emails in Their Place

When I logged on to Gmail this morning, I was greeted with an overlay saying that Google had updated the service to make it easier for me to use. Wasn’t that nice of them? What they did was organize all of my email into tabs so I can find what I want faster. Not bad.

Here’s what it looks like:

new inbox


From the consumer point of view, this is pretty slick especially since I only use my Gmail account as a catch-all. I usually only hit it when I’m looking for something specific, like the tracking number on the DVD I just bought. Now I can go in and find it fast. That email should be under the “Updates” tab.

I also love the “Social” tab because it collects all of those “RoseyBear246 is Now Following You” messages and sticks them in one place. I like to scan those messages but they’re a real pain when there are 200 of them mixed in with the regular email.

And then we get to the “Promotions” tab. This is where you, the marketer, are going to land. Your initial reaction is probably negative. Filtering your newsletters and offers into a separate tab isn’t good for business, but I don’t agree. I love coupons and deals, so I’m excited by the ability to quickly scan through the incoming offers without navigating through the rest of the mess.

There is a downside. (Isn’t there always?) On mobile, these extra tabs are hidden in the sidebar slider. I’ve seen reports saying you can’t access the Promotions tab on mobile, but I just updated my iPhone and it’s there. It does take some extra effort and if you’re scanning for important emails, you might forget to check the tab. It’s like that branded page filter on Facebook – I still forget to check that tab.

Still, I think it’s not going to be the ad killer that some people think it will be. I think anything that helps users sort through their email efficiently is good for the email sender. After that, it’s your job to make sure you’re sending content they want and can use.

Google put together a snappy YouTube video to show off the improvements and it’s backed by the wonderful song “Mr. Postman.” It made me smile. . . until I got to the end of the piece and I saw this:

one tabI resent that Google things only non-branded emails are the ones I “really, really want.” So not true. My favorite emails are the branded coupons that show up on my birthday with free treats.

What do you think? Is Gmail’s new tab system an email marketer killer or just another bump in the road?