New Responsys Release Tightens Focus

Responsys has released a new version of its hosted e-mail marketing software that promises to better connect with customers.

Interact 5, available today, has a new interface and more tools to personalize content of e-mail campaigns. To emphasize the company’s “Individualized Lifecycle Marketing” theories, Responsys also formed the ILM Forum.

“Marketers are moving from a campaign-centric view, with broadcast-oriented campaigns, to a program-centric view,” said Scott Olrich, chief marketing officer for Responsys. To that end, the new version of the software allows marketers to develop strategic marketing programs.

Responsys Interact 5 is designed to help marketers not only send highly targeted messages, but also to set up continuous, automated message delivery by assembling personalized e-mails based on the preferences and behavior of individual customers as they move from “suspect” to prospect active customer to one that needs to be won back.

For example, three days after a customer abandons a PETCO online shopping cart, the company sends an e-mail featuring the abandoned product and three other, high-margin items. Responsys said clickthroughs from e-mail increased 852 percent as a result, while conversion increased 171 percent.

The software reports on the performance of individual campaigns and longterm programs to help marketers identify their best customers and most successful campaigns.

“We’re moving our customers from a renter model, in which they’re trying to come up with campaigns each week, to an owner model, where they’re building equity in key programs across the customer lifecycle,” Olrich said.

Responsys customers include Avery Dennison, Lands’ End, Office Depot and PETCO. Its target customers are mid-sized to large enterprises that want to do sophisticated marketing campaigns and often make use of Responsys’ professional services to help set up campaigns.

Members of the newly formed ILM Forum, which include executives from CDW , Continental Airlines , OgilvyOne, Intrawest , PETCO , Staples and , will meet regularly to discuss marketing strategy and customer retention.

Jupiter Research urged marketers to adopt “lifecycle targeting tactics” in a May 2005 report on e-mail marketing. (Jupiter Research and are owned by the same corporation.)

According to Jupiter, lifecycle targeting tactics are twice as likely to deliver conversion rates of more than 5 percent as are offer-oriented campaigns. Relevant campaigns increase net profits by an average of 18 times more than do broadcast mailings, the analysts said, while the use of Web analytics to target email campaigns improves revenue by nine times more than does the use of broadcast mailings.

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