@ctive Email Gets Responses

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We read with interest your article on National Geographic Interactive's embrace of Media Synergy's multimedia electronic mail technology, @ctive Email ("Campaign Begs Question: Too Soon for Visuals in E-Mail Marketing?" May 11).

Our experience with high-level direct mail campaigns indicates that well-implemented multimedia e-mail -- delivered to recipients drawn from verified opt-in lists --- generates exceptional response rates. The 20 percent response rate to our Winter Olympics campaign for CBS Sportsline demonstrates the point.

Your story said that @ctive Email is a two-step marketing approach, we disagree. @ctive Email delivers a message directly to the target audience, which differs greatly from embedded links or drive-by banner advertising, which require both click-through and Web travel to pick up messages. And with the smallest player on the market, our compression technology allows the recipient to download an @ctive Email in nearly the same time it takes to load a rich context file.

Multimedia e-mail works because the content and the presentation are inherently compelling. As Michael Goulde, senior analyst for the Patricia Seybold Group, recently noted, "If people have expressed an interest in being informed, there is no better way to respond than with e-mail. @ctive Email makes a lot of sense as a vehicle for sending people information as well as other kinds of content to strengthen ties and create marketing and selling opportunities." Indeed, our concept of multimedia e-mail doesn't stop at brand-building -- it extends to generating sales leads and closing sales.

That multimedia e-mail works is not subject to guesswork; once again, metrics are inherent in the technology. To confirm the effectiveness of this new medium, we built sophisticated tracking mechanisms into the campaign for National Geographic Interactive. As leads are generated from site visits, the technology returns information about site traffic, including number of hits, repeat visits and, in this case, Wild Cards sent. The campaign also employs @ctive Email's expanded tagging capabilities to track activity within the site and identify first-generation card recipients. Site-traffic data is providing National Geographic with a method of qualifying leads for future campaigns -- a powerful benefit of multimedia e-mail and a strong rationale for deploying the technology.

Linda Hazzan

Vice president, marketing

Media Synergy, Toronto

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