The Latest in Internet Marketing Technology? The Telephone

Remember how the Internet was going to automate the purchasing process and
eliminate costs like call centers?

As with so many “middlemen” the Internet was supposed to eliminate, we’re
discovering now that they’re more important than ever. Hence the
announcements on Monday of two new technologies that link e-mail marketing
to real people via telephone (or Internet telephone).

First there’s the agreement between inChorus, which provides rich media
e-mail marketing, with USA Global Link,
the telephone part of the equation. The deal calls for inChorus to embed the
“Instant Call for E-mail” technology into its e-mail product. That way,
people who receive an e-mail advertisement, and want to get more
information, can simply click on a link to have someone phone them with the

“Our goal at is to provide the most compelling, effective and
successful rich-media e-mail marketing and advertising campaigns for our
customers,” said Carol Prior, vice president of sales for

“The power of the two components, rich-media to capture the email
recipient’s attention, then Instant Call for the immediate connection to a
human being, makes this a ‘killer app’ for e-mail marketing.”

And isn’t the only one who thinks so. Beyond Interactive on Monday unveiled a
campaign, which it’s putting together in partnership with RadicalMail, for Starz Encore Group
LLC. The e-mail campaign, to promote the premiere of the sci-fi animated
feature film “Heavy Metal 2000,”
will allow recipients to call a 1-800 number through their computer, and
sign up for the Starz! cable television channel.

Beyond Interative tapped another of its clients,, to make this all work.
The campaign uses’s PC-to-phone and phone-to-phone telephony
services. Recipients of the e-mail can click and call and order Starz!
without having to log off their computer. They can also select a time for a
Starz! customer service to call them so they can place the order.

“We wanted to give recipients the fastest, most efficient way to order
Starz! and see the movie,” said Jay Chavez, vice president of worldwide
Internet services, Ursus Telecom &

“Through incorporating our phone-to-phone and PC-to-phone dial-up
functionality and connectivity into the e-mail, we’ve been able to provide a
cross-platform marketing solution for Starz!”

The Starz! e-mail includes a streaming movie trailer, exclusive movie clips,
and soundtrack clips. Recipients who forward the e-mail to a friend get
entered into a $10,000 sweepstakes. The campaign budget was $40,000, and it
was sent to more than 20,000 targeted recipients, which mostly includes
people in the 18- to 24-year-old male demographic.

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