Stop Freaking Out and See the Opportunity!
I have a confession to make - I’m a tech nerd. I love how technology is constantly evolving, getting smaller, faster, bigger, smarter, easier, and everything in between. In fact, I’ve had my new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 for all of 48 hours and I am still flying a cloud of nerdtastic awesome!
Tech is powerful. It has the ability to bring people together, tear them apart, as well as the ability to surprise, delight, and let’s not forget - freak people out. This last details is worthy of some focus – freaking out over technology.
Techno Freak Out is NOT a New Dance Sensation
Allow me to qualify this statement – “freaking out” in regards to technology can have many meanings. In this case, I won’t be discussing the “Big Brother” freak out variety. The specific “freak out” scenario I’ll speak to are those of Email Marketers who immediately freak out when an ISP, Email Client, Browser, or Mobile Device makes an update to their software or device.
Even in Email Marketing - the least sexy, but diehard gem, of the digital marketing realm – we love tech! Tech doesn’t change as much within the confines of an email as many of us would like, but it changes everywhere else that affects design, development, and delivery of an email. That being said, the impetus for this quality rant on “freaking out” is brought to you by none other than Google. Not really much of a surprise there.
Back to the Future with Google
Let’s take a step back to 2013 when Google introduced the new Gmail inbox with Tabs. Talk about freaking out! Clients, vendors – everyone – was freaking out. All I heard for months was, “What happens to my promotional emails now?” and “Will my subscribers even see my emails?” and let’s not forget the classic, “How am I supposed to reach my goals when both Gmail and Users can sort their email?” Seriously, it was never, ever a big deal. But, we talked about it. We wrote about it. Clients asked for my point of view on how to battle this change repeatedly. Sometimes, they listened… most still panicked.
What was my point of view? Simple – stop freaking out. Instead, start looking at how this may evolve your marketing strategy into something brilliant. ‘Change’ has an alias called “Opportunity” in the digital game and someone will always see it – will it be you?
Now, adding insult to email injury, Google had the audacity on October 22nd to announce their new email client, Inbox. A well-known mission of Google has been to promote user-friendliness in email. Google has always followed the road not taken, and Inbox is proof in the pudding. Their mission to elevate email beyond the terminal death prognosis it is repeatedly diagnosed with, into something that allows email to work for the user, rather than against the user and their inbox, is close, if not realized, all with Inbox.
So, what’s the problem here? Sounds like progress to me – more so, it sounds like opportunity. But, in the past few weeks, all I’ve seen are articles and comments to said articles, discussing everything Inbox changes, what it won’t allow designers and developers to do, and essentially, how it’s going to be challenging to be an email marketer. Stop. Freaking. Out.
Getting My Geek Freak On!
The second I heard I could request an invite to Inbox, I did. I’ve had it almost a week and I love it. It’s completely different than every single email client I’ve ever used or seen. It’s nimble, organized, and allows me to manage the priority of my messages and even set reminders. Opportunity.
How does Inbox change email marketing? I’m not sure that it really changes anything in regards to marketing. Its mission is to make email easier to manage, user friendly, and most importantly, truly functional. It accomplishes all of these missions without question. It is because of these reasons, Inbox should more easily engage the user with your marketing emails, if your marketing messages are truly engaging.
Stop the Presses
Perhaps that’s the rub – “IF your marketing messages are truly engaging.” Is that why everyone freaks out? Maybe that’s why some of them do, but I don’t think most are thinking that deeply before they freak out. Perhaps it’s simply human nature to resist change and why email marketers tend to have mini panic attacks anytime a profound change occurs? Or, for some, it might be something new to talk about, so they freak out for attention? Maybe it’s all of these reasons rolled into one, big, freaking sausage of panic. I may never know the real reason, but what I do know is people need to jump on the Opportunity wagon rather than the Freakin’ wagon to do awesome email.
Jump on the Wagon!
I confessed at the beginning that I’m a nerd for new tech. Why do I geek-out over new tech so much? Because with each update, change, new device, software, app – and everything in between – my job as an Email Marketer becomes richer, more challenging and provides new methods for me to make great email happen. Let’s use Inbox as an example and illuminate the opportunities:
1. Increased focus on subscriber engagement
2. Bringing relevancy higher, where it should be
3. Using data wisely for personalization to superpower #1 and #2
4. Using Inbox as a catalyst for dramatic change in your email strategy
I think 1-3 are pretty clear, but #4 might need some clarification. Specifically, when we need to sell new ideas to executive management, it’s not always easy. Often, you need to provide a reason for your requests. Inbox is a great reason, and it’s not why you may think.
Inbox brings focus to the necessity for #1-3 above. With that, internal technologies need to change, update, and get more personalized to manage everything. All of this costs money. Leverage this now, as there’s a quickly tightening gap between you and your competition. That gap is being filled with personalized data, dynamic and device-agnostic email, with crazy relevant and engaging content. It’s time to get on that wagon, or be left behind.