You may have heard the buzz about Google's latest development. You may even already be using it and not know it. But Google didn't just release a new product; it has dramatically changed the way we look at the inbox. Google Buzz is the latest product from Google that adds some social media elements to your Gmail account. It allows you to share content such as what you are up to, articles, pictures and more with your contacts. If you have ever updated your status on Facebook, or tweeted, then you are very familiar with what Google Buzz can do. It also integrates with several current social networks such as Twitter, Google Reader, and Flickr to post content automatically when you post anything on other networks. While that's great, the biggest benefit in my mind is the increased accessibility by having this right in your email account.
Google has started a fundamental shift to what the "inbox" means as it relates to our day-to-day communications. I can now send email (private conversations), and in one click also send updates for all of my friends and family to see (public conversations). They have given the customer one central location to communicate publicly and at the same time still use email to conduct business, or have have more "private" conversations.
Microsoft has also just announced that they will also be integrating with MySpace, LinkedIn, and Facebook within their Outlook product. I think this is the start of a larger trend where other email clients (Yahoo, Hotmail, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, etc.) will be incorporating elements of social media communication within the same interface as well.
As someone in Lifecycle Marketing, this drastically changes how we should be thinking about what and where we communicate messages to our customers. For example, take Bob...he is a fan on Facebook of my new widgets product, follows us on Twitter, and has signed up for our newsletter and specials. If we were to send Bob the same content in all of these different areas, he would be inundated with the same message...essentially "spamming" him with our single offer. This is why we must understand how Bob would prefer to receive these communications if we hope to build a better relationship and brand experience.
We as consumers are bombarded with messages and information all day, now a large amount of this information is being centralized into one place: our inbox. This is why it is extremely important to get the right customer the right message on the right communication platform at the right time in order to continue to see better return.
Other industry leaders agree that the time to think strategically and collaboratively is now. In fact, Jason Baer just wrote a great article on unifying email and social media teams to optimize brand experiences. This timely advice and the recent technology advancements should make it clear to both marketers and organizations that it is even more important than ever to know your customers and not overwhelm anyone with redundant messages.
Originally posted on www.OffMadisonAve.com February 25, 2010.