Gmail Priority Inbox: The Continuation of a Trend

First Yahoo!, then Hotmail, and now Gmail. (And soon AOL?) In their ongoing campaign to be the inbox of choice, large webmail providers are rolling out features that reduce email overload and improve the email experience for subscribers by, among other things, highlights messages that the user is likely to deem important.

It’s still way too soon to tell what this means for the future of email marketing. But it’s clear that the “last in, on top” model of email — one that has prevailed for more than 15 years — is breaking. This model was both good and bad for marketers. The new model is also likely to be good and bad. It’s also possible that there won’t be one model. Instead, each provider will have a slightly unique twist meaning segmentation and targeting by ISP will become hugely important.

It’s also clear that sending the same email to every subscriber regardless of their interest or activity level is a doomed strategy. Your email must be interesting and engaging or it will be harder and harder to get a response.

What types of strategic changes are you contemplating in light of these new features from large webmail providers? Leave us a comment.

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