RealTime IT News

Startup Offers Personalized Rich-Media E-mail

Russell Gillam thinks that streaming rich media just met its match.

By combining customer database information with streaming media, the president and chief executive officer of startup Dynamics Direct hopes to offer clients a way to distribute personalized, rich-media e-mail messages.

The company Wednesday unveiled its service, which taps into companies' customer databases and uses that information to tailor streaming, rich-media direct e-mail messages. The intended result is a mass mailing with greater levels of customer targeting, with creative that incorporates audio and video featuring the target's name, place of residence, and a customized offer matched with profile data.

Gillam says a client can use Dynamics Direct's services to leverage its database to create unique streaming animation, voice narration, graphics, pictures, video, music and sound effects. The idea is to create a direct, rich-media e-mail special offer, unique to each recipient.

"Our approach was born of a tried-and-true direct marketing concept -- the deeper the relevance, the better the response," Gillam said.

The service Dynamics Direct provides is similar to those offered by RadicalMail and MindArrow Systems, and the company is a little bit late out of the starting gate. Still, Gillam believes his company's ability to tap into companies' databases -- and personalize the audio and video delivered in the e-mail -- is an advantage.

"People still spend money on banner ads, simply because there's no other place to advertise online. Offline ads don't work either. And e-mail has its own problems -- text-based e-mail's low response rate, for instance," Gilliam said.

"Our approach marries personalization with the emotive response of rich media. We've developed a more effective marketing tool that delivers higher clickthrough and conversion and better return on investment."

Already the company has created campaigns for some big names. Internet mailing services provider Stamps.com commissioned one of the largest personalized rich media e-mail campaigns. Golfing e-commerce Web site Chipshot.com used a campaign to drive sales of a new line of golf clubs. Columbia TriStar Interactive, the marketing, promotion and multimedia production division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, commissioned a rich-media promotional campaign to drive traffic to its Battledome Web site.

Dynamics Direct's approach to mass e-mail marketing comes at a time when consumers are being targeted in increasing numbers by direct e-mail messaging. And that's not likely to change anytime soon: a Jupiter Communications report estimates that Internet users in the US will receive an annual average of 1,600 commercial e-mails by 2005.

Thus, Gillam said, the need for online marketers to deliver personalized, engaging e-mail messages has never been greater.