BeTuitive's Smart: More Versions, More Intelligent

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NEW YORK -- To send out one version of an e-mail communication "is just stupid," BeTuitive Marketing president/CEO Todd Smart said yesterday at ExactTarget's eMarketing Excellence Summit at the Sofitel Hotel.

BeTuitive produces online alerts and newsletters for business-to-business marketers such as Direct Benefits Inc., an insurance company that markets life and dental insurance policies to agents that they can sell to small businesses.

Direct Benefits had seen good results with broadcast fax but came to BeTuitive a year ago because it thought it needed to replace this strategy based on pending fax laws.

The company had no in-house list of e-mail addresses, so it approached two insurance trade associations about using their lists in exchange for part of the revenue generated by any e-mails. Both associations agreed because Direct Benefits' product was something they weren't already promoting to their members, Smart said. As a result, Direct Benefits could use the associations' logos in its initial communications.

The e-mail alerts announcing the insurance products were segmented by each of the 42 markets they were targeting. Then the alerts were segmented again by prospects and established contacts. Each e-mail, however, included an opt out.

Normally, Smart said, he tells "prospects that [e-mail] is not good for establishing new relationships." Direct Benefits, however, is the exception.

In the past nine months, the company has added 100 agents who have written new business to the tune of $1 million in annual premiums. It also has seen a 550 percent increase in self-service use of its Web site by agents.

"When we segment lists and do hundreds of versions," the response rate is double or triple what it would be otherwise, Smart said. In fact, BeTuitive has one client that wants more than 2,000 versions of its newsletter sent each time.

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