The “junk mail” bar is about to be raised and Apple is treading dangerously?

Earlier in the week I received the latest sales email from Apple.  The theme? “Fathers day is coming up – make his day with an iPad”.  Something felt rather familiar about it.

Ah yes, I’d seen the same email on mother’s day too. And it was just as uninspiring then.

And the difference is?

version 1


version 2


Is it just me or should they do better?

On Attacat training courses we’ve been running recently I’ve been emphasising the need to add value every time you communicate or you risk being filtered out.  Either by people’s natural ability to ignore adverts or through some technical means such as ad blockers and spam filters.

So, somewhat flummoxed by Apple’s lack of creativity,  I found myself on Twitter getting into a debate with a couple of the best in the Scottish digital marketing scene about whether or not these emails were damaging Apple. I felt they were. They felt differently – ineffective, but not damaging.

My argument was based on the fact that they created a non-positive experience. Apple is associated with creativity and great things so to send out a really uninspiring email campaign just felt like it was going against the brand. I was also concerned (being the generous type I am) about people simply starting to (mentally) filter out their emails so that when they did have something important or interesting to say,  they wouldn’t be read.

New gmail

And then last night I was listening to The Gillmor Gang podcast where Robert Scoble talked about the imminent new Gmail update and the main feature he highlighted was the the new automatic filtering of emails into multiple inboxes that the new system creates. So instead of just having the one single inbox you now have a main inbox and then you will have a number of other inboxes.

The new junk mail inbox

One of these new inboxes is for social so automatically all the “new follower” mails from Twitter and “notifications pending” Facebook mails will appear there – fine.

However, there is another called “Promotions” and this is the one that I think this is going to be the kiss of death for an awful lot of email marketing campaigns.

So instead of your offers email landing  in customers’ inboxes they are now going to be filtered into this separate promotions inbox. Over time I suggest that most people will just completely stop looking at this promotions folder so in essence it will have the same impact as being sent straight to junk mail. Your email will stop being seen,  simple as that.

Getting into the inbox has always been the objective but now the bar is being raised. You don’t simply have to get past the spam  filter,  it’s a case of getting past the “not so good filter” too.

The only way to do that is to start adding real value to your customers and prospects when communicating with them.  You’ve got to get as close as you can to one-to-one, highly opt-in dialogues. That is going to challenge even  the biggest brands and right now Apple is heading for the new junk mail filter.


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