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Amazon’s WorkMail Won’t Immediately Affect Marketers

Last week’s introduction of Amazon WorkMail, a cloud-based email and calendaring solution, should merit lots of attention from small- to medium-sized enterprises looking for a cheap workplace solution. Its emergence as a commerce conduit for Internet retailers, however, could be years off .

As the number one player in the public cloud computing market, Amazon is able to offer users of WorkMail powerful capabilities for secure storage of customer and distribution lists, as well as providing them with solid workplace features like calendaring and out-of-office messaging. The new service is not likely, however, to gain a large following of individual users—or, in turn, email marketers—at the outset.

“It doesn’t require the purchase of any software, but then you’re on your own for technology and security updates,” says Quinn Jalli, SVP of Epsilon’s Strategic Initiatives Group. “It could find a lot of traction among smaller companies that have long delayed updating their email systems. It can remove some of their security issues.There are some companies out there still using Lotus Mail, believe it or not.”

As a marketing channel, it’s not likely to be attractive even for engagement with B2B accounts. Jalli says Epsilon’s experience shows that 85-90% of recipients on typical B2B email lists prefer to get marketing mail sent to their personal addresses. “That’s because of the strict filtering rules set down by most companies,” Jalli says.

But new capabilities are likely to blossom as WorkMail sets down roots. Jalli is convinced Amazon will eventually ratchet up WorkMail’s game, and he’s not alone. Denise Chan, content marketing manager at Mailjet, feels that WorkMail faces impediments in challenging Gmail, but that it may have things to offer marketers the Google service can’t.

“Amazon has a few key strengths they can play on, one of their advantages being the e-commerce space. They already have the framework built and an existing network of sellers that sell through their site,” Chan observes. “They can leverage this competitive edge by integrating customer support, inventory management, or other internal communication tools beneficial to sellers.”

Those who’d like an up-close look at WorkMail can check out a demo in a blog on Amazon Web Services or take advantage of a 30-day free trial being offered by the company.

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