Meaningful Relationships: How Google Calculated Right

New GMail categorization tabs


As a tech executive and a long-time marketer, I am no stranger to technology. So, it is with some degree of surprise that I continue to see poorly executed marketing programs and weak CRM-driven outreach to me as a consumer.

I am certain that some of the issues lie in weak cross-channel integration. And I am sure there is more blame to be placed on underdeveloped data collection tools. But in the drive for automation and scale, something seems to be left out from common consumer interactions…meaningful content. This was brought to stunning light for me by the rollout of the new GMail interface.

By default, GMail setup three tabs for me:  Primary, Social, Promotions. In my primary tab were mostly email accounts that I do interact with in meaningful ways. By comparison, in my promotions tab were virtually all my consumer emails. Amazingly, that is exactly how I would have wanted Google to characterize the mail. In fact, I do not believe that any of the commercial email streams really represent content I would consider relevant to my “primary” email consumption.

I realize it is likely a fairly course calculation by me, and by Google, but if I work at Lands End, J Crew or one of the countless other retail/ecommerce companies sending out regular email, I would think about what Google just did…and whether my assessment of categorization might well be what lots of other people think too.