Web-based Service Simplifies Direct Agencies' Permission Marketing Efforts

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Responsys Interact, Palo Alto, CA, an application service provider, announced this week the launch of its Responsys.com Agency Partner Program, a strategic online solution that helps interactive, creative and direct marketing agencies incorporate permission-based direct marketing and e-mail messaging initiatives into their client offerings via the Web.

"What we have built is an application that delivers direct marketing on the Net," said Atri Chatterjee, vice president of marketing. "Responsys.com is a system that allows clients to create, build and run their own direct response campaigns using our platform and back-end infrastructure. This way an agency doesn't have to worry about buying an inhouse application or the costs associated with maintaining it. They just log into our application via a browser."

Permission marketing, a growing trend primarily among e-mail marketers, involves selling products and services to customers who have explicitly agreed to receive sales information - usually via the Internet. According to the Direct Marketing Association, the industry is expected to reach $5.2 billion by 2003. And no doubt, businesses like Responsys have high hopes of cashing in on the wave by offering innovative, Web-based services to marketers and marketing agencies alike.

"The Responsys Agency Program brings us another step closer toward our goal of providing customers with a complete solution for effective permission marketing on the Internet," said Chatterjee. "We complement agencies without competing with them. They can concentrate on the creative and marketing aspects of direct marketing, while we focus on the technology, hosting infrastructure and round-the-clock availability of our application."

Clients have to provide their own database listings to the company. But Chatterjee said the time and money associated with tailoring, charting and keeping track of requests and responses is where the savings comes in for the marketer or agency that is working with several clients. Responsys.com said it will charge on a subscription basis based on how many messages are sent. The base subscription starts at $2,000, which allows a company to transmit as many as 20,000 e-mails a month.

The program is organized around a three-tiered structure providing agencies at any level with access to its Web-based application, which includes tools for campaign planning and technical support. Agencies that take advantage of the service can also be listed with the company's online catalog service as a reference for Responsys.com's existing customers who may be looking for marketing and creative assistance with their own direct marketing projects.

Four agencies have already become partners of the program: Momentum Interactive Marketing, Palo Alto, CA; Passaic Parc Inc., Wellesley, MA; Rizzuti.com, Carrollton, TX; and P3M, Los Gatos, CA.

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