IAR Bits and Bytes

Digital Impact Adds Acquisition, Strategy Units

Online direct marketing technology firm Digital Impact is rolling out a new organizational structure, expanding the San Mateo, Calif.-based company’s native CRM business with strategy and customer acquisition practices.

Executives told internetnews.com that the two new service areas came about at the requests of clients, who were looking for solutions beyond customer retention.

“Digital Impact’s new solution lines provide unprecedented breadth and depth to enable highly successful online direct marketing programs,” said David Kleinberg, the company’s senior vice president of marketing. “Our solution lines deliver market-leading results because they integrate the full spectrum of data management, marketing analytics, campaign management and delivery.”

The company said that during the past year, it expanded its client base to include more than one hundred Fortune 1000 corporations, who asked for stand-alone strategy and customer acquisition services that complemented the firm’s customer marketing solution.

To capitalize on that demand, Digital Impact said it expanded and elevated strategy and customer acquisition into complete, integrated solution lines, and expanded its customer marketing solution with further technology enhancements.

In addition to the new solution lines, Digital Impact also recently unveiled Impact 4.1, the latest version of its CRM technology platform. Impact 4.1 includes a new interface for assembling online direct marketing campaigns, and a new reporting and analytics application.

Impact 4.1 also provides expanded foreign language support for Asian languages including Japanese, traditional Chinese and Korean.

Terra Lycos Kids Site to Promote Dannon Yogurt

Waltham, Mass.-based portal Terra Lycos will market dairy producer Dannon’s products, through a cross-promotional deal announced this week.

The portal will promote Dannon’s Danimals low-fat yogurt products on its children’s site, Lycos Zone. Dannon Danimals will be showcased on the front page of Lycos Zone, and will be integrated into the site’s content via a series of Danimals-branded games developed by Lycos.

The games are aimed at promoting healthy eating — and Dannon products — to the Web’s youngest audience, kids aged 3 to 8 years.

“We are witnessing the first truly digital generation with kids,” said Eric Leventhal, vice president of marketing for The Dannon Company. “Lycos Zone is an ideal forum to build the relationship between kids and the helpful, friendly Dannon Danimals characters. Through fun interactive games, kids discover that Dannon Danimals are a delicious and convenient way to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. We are excited about working with Lycos Zone to extend the reach of Dannon’s wholesome products and nutrition messages to families with kids across the globe.”

In return, the agreement calls for the Lycos Zone URL to be prominently featured on about 200 million Dannon Danimals low-fat yogurt cups, and Danimals Drinkable low-fat yogurt bottles in stores nationwide.

Spokespeople, who did not disclose financial aspects of the deal, said the alliance demonstrates Terra Lycos’s ability to integrate marketing messages with the online consumer experience for increased effectiveness.

Real Media to Resell “Takeover” Technology from Ad4ever

New York-based Web media network Real Media will sell Ad4ever’s ad technology to advertisers, through terms of a deal announced this week.

The agreement calls for Real Media to offer its customers use of Alley-based Ad4ever’s TopLayer technology, which allows advertisers to launch “takeover” campaigns, in which animated ads scoot across a Web page.

Since they’re eye-catching and unusual — compared to the standard banner ad, at any rate — Ad4ever says such campaigns regularly generate click-through rates well in excess of the industry norm, sometimes as high as 25 percent.

The Ad4ever ads don’t require a plug-in, and typically appear on a user’s screen for four seconds before disappearing. The ads also incorporate a persistent ad that appears on-screen as viewers scroll — unlike banners, which can be scrolled off-screen.

Digitas Warns, Cuts Staff

Boston-based interactive shop Digitas revealed that it plans to cut into its billable staff this week, following an earlier round of layoffs.

A company spokesperson told internetnews.com that clients from the financial services sector have reduced their spending, thereby impacting the company’s bottom line.

“The clients who have revenue streams tied to the stock market have cut their investments in marketing and technology and as a result, … our revenues will be lower than previously expected,” the spokesperson said.

During a conference call with investors, the company said its quarterly revenues would come in 10 percent shy of previous expectations, with second-quarter sales falling to between $60 million and $63 million.

Accordingly, Digitas said it now expects a pro-forma loss of $0.18 to $0.20 per share for the second quarter. According to Thomson Financial/First Call, analyst consensus originally had predicted a $0.01 per share profit for the company.

The company also revised its full-year 2001 revenue expectations, now anticipating $60 million to $70 million in quarterly revenue for both third and fourth quarters.

As a result of the revenue shortfall, the company it would “realign” the company to cut costs, cutting about 100 jobs. Previously, Digitas laid off about 75 administrative positions.

Both rounds of cuts equal about 10 percent of the company’s staff, the spokesperson said.

Digitas’ current financial services clients include American Express, Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab. The sector comprises about 35 percent of the company’s revenue, it said.

Spokespeople at the publicly-traded firm also denied persistent rumors that it’s in talks to be acquired by New York-based advertising agency holding company Interpublic Group.

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