Grey Advertising Embraces MessageMedia's Agency Alliance

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Grey Advertising, New York, became the first partner in a new Agency Alliance Program announced yesterday by Internet marketing and customer relationship management services firm MessageMedia Inc., New York.

MessageMedia's new program is designed to help advertising agencies extend their online marketing services to clients through the use of integrated e-mail messaging technology and other Web-based marketing initiatives.

"Forward-thinking advertising agencies understand the power of e-mail as a marketing tool," said Larry Jones, president/CEO of MessageMedia. MessageMedia will immediately make its competencies and deliverables in e-mail messaging services available to Grey clients while gaining entry into the ad agency's substantial client base along with a presence on its corporate Web site. Other agencies are expected to join the alliance and offer MessageMedia a presence on their Web sites as well.

According to Tom Ferrell, director of corporate communications at MessageMedia: "there will be joint selling going on when we accompany Grey in their client presentations for new business." He also said that the partnership would be very sensitive to privacy issues regarding the online side of the business, especially where traditional direct mail and e-mail messaging come together.

"We are very tight on the opt-in side of this business," said Ferrell. "The customer acquisition has to be done before we enter the picture. That means the customer has to have provided information [clarifying] that they do want to receive e-mail from a client. Otherwise nobody really benefits. And we certainly don't want to risk labeling a client, or being labeled [ourselves] as a spammer, but we obviously hope to do some coordinated campaigns along those lines."

The alliance has yet to garner any specific new business accounts, but Grey Advertising spokesman Chris Brown said: "We will be are offering MessageMedia's services across all our subsidiary companies, including Grey Interactive and Grey Direct." She noted, however, that Grey Direct has used MessageMedia's services in the past.

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