Wednesday’s Word(s) of the Week: Inbox Innovation

Posted by Tom Sather on

A Weekly Round-Up Of What Email Marketers Are Talking About

This week I thought I would take a look at three new inbox innovators and how they solve problems like social connections, productivity, inbox overload, and relevancy.

Inbox Influence:  Inbox Influence works with Gmail via a Firefox plugin.  When opening an email, it lets you know how much money a particular person or entity has donated to political parties.  For example, when opening my bank statement, I was told how much they donated, to whom they donated, how much they spent lobbying and the top issues they lobbied.  I can see this being useful to those who are extremely aware of who they patronize based on political affiliations.  Just in time for the campaign season!

Courteous.ly – If you’ve ever read any book or blog post about productivity, you’ll know always suggest checking email five times a day at set intervals.  I think that’s a great theory in practice, but I feel guilty doing that.  With email, people expect a timely, if not near immediate, response.  I’ve always thought how great it would be if people knew when I was checking my email or when I was away, much like status notifications in Instant Messaging programs.  This is where Courtes.ly comes in.  Courteous.ly analyzes your email habits over a 12-hour time period, and looks at how many unread messages you have, how many messages you’re sending, and then periodically checks your inbox to give a status to people who are emailing you and expecting a response.  For example, if a friend wants to invite me to dinner tonight, but doesn’t know if I’ll see the email in time, he or she can check my Courtes.ly page to see if I’m actively checking email, or if my inbox is flooded with unread messages.  It currently works with Gmail only, but I can only hope and imagine an Outlook version is on its way.  I couldn’t think of a better way to set my co-workers’ expectations as to when I’ll finally get a chance to reply to their important email.

Movable Ink – Movable Ink is a marketer’s dream come true as it combines geographical targeting, dynamic content, and on-the-fly creative optimization.  Auction sites could potentially show real time status on products which could help drive conversions as inventory decreases or prices increase.  Marketers can test promotional offers and adjust the content on-the-fly, and it will open a mobile-optimized email if it’s read on a mobile device.  Marketers can even geo-target subscribers based on their location, like opening your email in Vancouver and seeing Canucks memorabilia, or opening it in Boston to see Bruins merchandise.  If you want to see it in action, you can have a demo email sent to your inbox.  Movable Ink could be just what email needs to be more engaging and relevant in today’s mobile world.

Have your own favorite inbox innovation?  Email me or leave me a comment below.


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About Tom Sather

Email data and deliverability expert Tom Sather has worked with top-tier brands to diagnose and solve inbox placement and sender reputation issues as a strategic consultant with Return Path. As the company’s senior director of research, Tom is a frequent speaker and writer on email marketing trends and technology. His most recent analysis of new inbox applications’ effects on consumer behavior was widely cited across leading business media outlets including the Financial Times, Ad Age, and Media Post.

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