I’ve heard reams and reams of bitching from marketers about Google’s UX change to Gmail which creates default tabs. At present these tabs separate your primary email from your social alerts and your promotions. Of course the big concern from marketers is that their constant email space won’t get accidentally clicked on by recipients. And those marketers should be scared, that’s the point. People are sick of spam. We don’t want your crap, and, as a marketer, I don’t like spamming people.
However, marketers who have cultivated quality email programs targeting those who have opted in, with timely, relevant and segmented programs have nothing to fear, in fact, they have cause to rejoice!
“But my email is not going to be in front of their face!” No, it’s not, BUT it IS going to be waiting for them in the tab marked Promotions, when they are ready to shop. You see, context is the key here. People are really fucking busy. They don’t have time nor are they in the mood to shop exactly when you send them an email. Which is why, I suppose, some of those lists I’m on send me emails several times a day, several days a week; they’re hoping to catch me in a shopping mood. The thing is now they don’t need to. When I’m in the mood to shop, take advantage of a sale, coupon, etc. I’ll click on that promotions tab, credit card in hand!
The challenge is still a visibility one. Marketers will still be lumped in among a plethora of other marketing emails. But at least now they won’t also be mixed up with emails from Mom, Facebook status updates, work emails, etc. More than every subject lines will be important so that Fab can get me to click on their email instead of (or in addition to) the one from Gilt. Marketers should be closely watching gmail open times. With tabs, that should see a dramatic shift from “when do people open my email” to “When are people in a shopping mood”.
Marketers should prepare themselves though. Currently Gmail offers 5 tabs; Primary, Social, Promotions, Forums, and Updates. It’s very likely that we’ll see the availability of custom tabs soon. Marketers are going to want to be clever about convincing their email recipients that THEIR brand should be in a special tab their customers create.