When the Wind Changes

wind_vane“Sir, how do you think the changes to Google’s Gmail will affect email marketing?” I asked, worried that this newest change might in some adverse way affect those of us who are using email to market our products and services.

“Just why do you feel this should be a concern Watson,” The Effective Detective returned my question with a question.

“I just thought that by starting to automatically segregate emails into different categories, and some of the quirky results reported when using filters might cause problems, sir,” I decided it best to answer his question first, rather than try to force him to respond to me.

“Ah. Let me think. Do these new categories restrict the user in any way from seeing your email Watson?”

“Not really sir, I don’t think so.”

“Good. Is Google using this as a way to promote an agenda to end email marketing as we know it, or an attempt by Google to decide what email you can and cannot read, Watson?”

I had to suppress a snort at that one. “No sir, hardly.”

“Then I would say that this is merely another change that people will adapt to, or customize it to get it the heck out of their way, and will most likely have little or no impact on the vast majority of email,” The Detective concluded.

“Another interesting statistic is that Gmail comprises about 8 to 10% of the email clients in use. So if Google is planning some nefarious scheme to bend email marketers to their will, I would hazard a guess that they will be less than successful.

“But a large number of people I know use Gmail sir!” I protested.

“Yes Watson, and some of the more affluent among us have large numbers of friends that play polo. This does not imply in any way that anything related to the health and breeding of polo ponies has any effect on the problems of the vast majority of the population. Your anecdotal concerns are similar.

“I find it fascinating that each time a company, admittedly often one that is considered a mover and shaker, makes a change, that the technical and marketing press rise up as one and declare the apocalypse is upon us, or the second coming, depending on whether it is Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, or Google making the announcement. Each time the wind changes, everyone hurries to declare how this change or that will affect things. I actually find it quite annoying,” The Detective paused and glanced my way, giving me an opportunity to respond.

“Are you saying that we should ignore these changes, sir?” I asked.

“Don’t be silly Watson, of course we shouldn’t ignore them. Merely take them in stride, study them, and test them, before making grand pronouncements.

“Nothing has changed in regards to the basic tenet of email marketing. If the person receiving the email is truly engaged, then they welcome your email. Google may actually have done some of us a favor by making sure that our emails are grouped in a place that a person knows to look for our type of emails.

“That is of course if we have done our work in engaging them and sending good content.

“May we move on to a more interesting topic, Watson?”

“Of course, sir,” I replied, still secretly relieved that we weren’t going to need to invent a new marketing vehicle after all.

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