UAccess Lets Consumers Do the Calling

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UAccess, a permission-based marketing company, has a new telephone and Web program that will allow consumers to tell marketers, "Don't call us, we'll call you."

By identifying their names, addresses and areas of interests, consumers will get an identification number to access a personal voicemail account where they can hear marketing offers from national and local advertisers any time they want. The program is being tested in the Chicago area with 12,000 households, more than 50 percent of which have responded to offers and made purchases.

Advertisers taking part said the program has produced results between two to six times better than any of the direct mail or telemarketing campaigns they've previously run promoting the same products.

The program, which will officially launch in March, will include a direct mail effort and magazine and radio ads. Word of mouth is expected to play a role.

When consumers enter their personal mailbox PIN number, they hear a 10-second introduction before the listing of offers. Consumers then choose to hear more about an offer, save it for future use or delete it.

"We want to make sure we don't overload the consumer with offers, so we won't continually be putting offers into their mailbox," Torres said.

Depending on the advertiser, the consumer can either be transferred directly to an operator at its call center to receive the offer or get the offer in the mail. Consumers also have access to seven categories of interest - entertainment, gifts, health, travel, personal finance, kids and time and money - and all of the retailers in the program. The company hopes soon to increase the categories to 36.

There are currently 35 to 40 companies that have signed onto the program, including GEICO, Earthlink, Blockbuster and FTD. It also is working with smaller local advertisers.

Once the phone program is launched, a Web version will be introduced to give consumers the choice to set up an e-mail account.

"They will receive the same offers there that they will over the phone, except they will be presented differently," Torres said.

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