Bell Canada's E-Mail Marketing Program Scales to Meet Demand

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ROSEMONT, IL -- Bell Canada is reporting success with an e-mail marketing program that the telecommunications company has scaled to meet a growing demand.

In a seminar held yesterday at the 27th National Center for Database Marketing Conference and Exhibition here, Bill Attia, senior consultant for Bell Canada, discussed how the company employed L-Soft solutions to facilitate a marketing effort designed to strengthen rapport with its customer base of 12.6 million in Ontario and Quebec.

In an effort to make billing information more accessible to customers, Bell Canada decided to offer a service called Bill Viewing in 1998. Monthly e-mail reminders, including a link to the information, were sent to subscribers of the service. Subscribers also were provided with links to special promotional offers and other incentives.

To design a solution that could scale as demand increased, Bell Canada turned to CGI, an information technology consulting firm, for guidance.

"Initially, 65,000 Bell Canada customers provided us with e-mail addresses and granted us permission to send them monthly reminders," said Attia, who works for CGI. "However, we knew this number would increase as more customers subscribed."

Bell Canada's subscriber base now stands at 300,000.

CGI advised Bell Canada to integrate its customer database with L-Soft's platform of the Listserv e-mail list manager and LSMTP, L-Soft's e-mail delivery application. Each was designed to handle large-volume lists.

Used together, Listserv and LSMTP perform "mail-merging," a function necessary for the creation of personalized, large-scale e-mail marketing campaigns.

Attia said the company has received a lot of feedback from the service. "Customers are actively looking for their reminders every month," he said.

One particularly successful service that Bell Canada offered through e-mail reminders was eMove. This service was targeted to college students, a group that typically changes addresses every year. Students were encouraged to fill out a form that linked them to their monthly e-mail reminder to transfer their telephone service. EMove has since been made available to all Bell Canada customers.

As customers continue to embrace the e-mail reminders, Attia said, Bell Canada has found new ways to harness the marketing opportunities that the technology provides.

Bell Canada, a sponsor of the Canadian Olympic team, used the reminders to link customers to a page on its Web site that included results from the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia.

"This way, subscribers could stay informed on the home team's progress," Attia said.

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