Bringing to Life
So, how can the micronbox be brought to life? There have been just a handful of inboxes in our life in the past 25 years – Hotmail, Gmail, SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger. What will it take to make a new inbox become part of our daily routine? Many things have to fall in place to make it happen.
First, microns have to become popular. Microns are a new format using email as a transport mechanism. For microns to succeed, both brands and consumers need to adopt microns. For consumers, the attraction is that these are short messages and have something of value rather than just standard promotional content. If a loyalty program can become embedded in microns, that will offer an additional incentive for consumers to prioritise opening microns. For brands, the higher open rates of microns will create a good reason to switch from pure promotional emails. If microns can consistently demonstrate 50% open rates, brands will find microns an attractive proposition.
Second, the popularity of microns will actually lead to an increase of email communications – which will drive the need for a dedicated inbox for microns. This is where the micronbox comes in. Initially, it can just aggregate the microns that are delivered to our primary inbox. Over time, the micronbox email address can itself become the identity for subscribing to marketing mails from brands. The attraction of the micronbox will be that it will be spam-free. By controlling the visual display and timeline of emails from the IMAP server, the micronbox can create a much more compelling content consumption experience.
Third, the use of email as a transport layer is what can drive adoption. There is no need for consumers to download yet another app. Each of the 4 billion mobile phones in the world already has an email client! All that needs to be done is that it needs to be configured to read from a different email server. (A dedicated app for the micronbox can be built just like the Gmail app, but that doesn’t have to be a priority.)
Finally, the micronbox’s interactive capabilities will convert the email inbox into a conversational interface. While WhatsApp and SMS have this today, the challenge is that the brand channels are mixed up with the personal communications channels. The customer mindset in WhatsApp is to communicate with friends and family, not with brands. Brands are important enough that they deserve a dedicated inbox – brands now have the requisite data to do 1:1 engagement with each of us. AI-powered chatbots can power infinite such parallel brand conversations with customers.
The micron-verse with the micronbox at its core offers a better world for brand-consumer communications. Many things have to go right to make this new future a reality. I am reminded of a GE campaign from the late 1980s that I used to see a lot on TV during my stay in the US – “We bring good things to life.” Microns are a good thing we should all work together to bring to life.