E-Mail Is Broadband Bound

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NEW YORK -- They have seen the future of e-mail, and it is broadband.

With the explosion of broadband technologies, particularly overseas, the next generation of e-mail will be integrated with interactive TV, wireless devices and personal digital assistants, opening up a whole new world for marketers.

At least that is the opinion of three industry experts. Speaking on a panel about broadband e-mail marketing at the DMD Marketing Conference and Exposition yesterday, Kate Leahy, marketing director at Bigfoot Interactive; Todd McCabe, regional director at TMX Interactive; and Ben Isaacson, executive director at the Association for Interactive Marketing, outlined their views on the future of e-mail.

Leahy offered tips on making rich media e-mail campaigns successful, the most important of which is to make messages relevant. As in traditional direct marketing, if the message is not relevant to the consumer, the marketer is just wasting his time, she said.

"Just because a customer can receive rich media e-mail does not mean they want to receive rich media e-mail," Leahy said. "Know your audience. Relevance is the key to having an ongoing relationship with your customers over time."

Leahy noted that the viral aspect of an e-mail campaign is important and will become even more crucial in the world of ubiquitous broadband. She said a recent study found that broadband users spend more time online as well as more money.

"Make your message interesting or funny to encourage forwarding," she said. "If content is so unique and so compelling, it gets forwarded on in massive quantities."

McCabe concurred, noting that some of his company's campaigns boast high viral rates.

"We've had some e-mails with a 90 percent click-through rate," he said. "The viral nature can be up to 200 percent."

Isaacson predicted that e-mail will become the "killer app" for I-TV because it affords marketers an easy way to quantify a campaign. Unlike broadcast television, where it is hard to track response rates for advertising, tracking and quantifying campaigns for e-mail on I-TV will be as easy as it is with traditional e-mail.

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