June 22, 2021

Your Messaging Has Been Blocked

On one randomly selected day last week, I received 15 emails in my Coleman Insights email junk folder that personally addressed me by name. “Hey, Jay…” “Jay, can we meet tomorrow?” “Jay, I saw that your company…”

Not much of a prettier picture in my Gmail inbox. When viewed from the desktop, 93 emails in one day landed in the dreaded “Promotions” inbox instead of the “Primary” one, viciously filtered by Google to email damnation in a place I’m bound to miss it. Among the 93 were emails I would have liked to have found in Primary (i.e., All Access and Wegmans) and others I was perfectly happy to have missed (i.e., The Raleigh News & Observer and Filters Fast). Hopefully our subscribers get this one in the intended folder!

Now you may be saying, “Jay, why don’t you just mark them as Primary so that they don’t land in the Promotions folder anymore?” Assuming I had the desire to spend the time doing that for each one I determined should be moved (which I don’t), it’s not quite so simple. But I gave it a shot.

Right click? Ha ha! No.

I googled “How to move Gmail” and the search bar auto-populated with “from promotions to primary.” I knew I wasn’t alone.

Oh good, there’s a YouTube tutorial. And while it’s not particularly hard, the consumer is facing friction. Most won’t try to figure it out.

If you were to aggregate the 108 emails that never saw the primary inbox that I check multiple times a day, consider how much time, energy, and money each of the companies has spent on those emails. There might have been subject line research, graphic design costs, and A/B testing to determine which message was more likely to reach me (oops.) There were likely campaign meetings, and calls, and more meetings.

And unless I had sourced it for this blog, all that effort resulted in the email never reaching me, its intended consumer.

Now consider how much time you put into your product and your messaging. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about an email, a video, a commercial, a stream, a podcast, or a talk break on a radio station.

There are blockades everywhere you look, from consumer distractions to obstacles that prohibit your intended target from receiving the message at all, like Google’s filters.

If you still think that your typical listener is receiving that messaging unencumbered and without friction and is able to completely process that messaging on a regular basis, it’s time to shift the paradigm–and more than likely, how you deliver the messaging.

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