Twelve Horses Enters E-Brochure Race

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Twelve Horses today expects to launch its MessageMaker technology, a Web-based corporate literature management and deployment service. It needs to catch up with MindArrow, however, which was one of the first horses out of the gate with a similar technology.

Currently, MessageMaker recipients are e-mailed a hyperlink which brings them to an online eMessage box that includes a client branding message, attachments and a personalized message. Recipients can reply or provide feedback directly from the message box.

Within four to six weeks, the company plans to launch a rich media e-mail version of the product that would allow for these functions within the consumer's e-mail box.

While the company claims to be the first in the space, it faces a number of competitors. The most direct competition comes from MindArrow Systems, Aliso Viejo, CA, which launched its Virtual Prospector 3.0 business-to-business technology last month.

Virtual Prospector sends out an eBrochure, a file that can be executed in Windows and combines graphics, text, audio, slides and video without requiring the recipient to download any special software to view the message.

Both companies hope to serve as a cost-effective and time-saving solution for mailing business materials such as brochures, sales kits and other typically expensive business materials.

"You can take elements of print collateral, personalize it and deliver it directly to the desktop," said David Malone, CEO of Twelve Horses, Dublin, Ireland. "It improves business efficiency and effectiveness by leveraging traditional print investments into an online resource."

The core of the Twelve Horses offering is its Virtual Literature Rack, which enables users to store all company literature in an electronic format. This helps companies to keep its information up-to-date and in a centralized place.

This information can be placed within customized message templates. Different templates can be created for employees, clients, trade show attendees and other recipients.

Much like its competitor's product, MessageMaker tracks elements such as who read the message, what they read and who replied. The company, which began in the traditional print field, has already signed on clients such as Novell, JP Morgan, Paramount and Arthur Anderson.

MindArrow could prove to be stiff competition, as earlier this month it released the results of the first of three eBrochure campaigns it is conducting with Nissan North America. The use of the technology helped yield a 34 percent increase in Nissan's sales volume in Atlanta.

Nissan sent the eBrochure to the University of Georgia Alumni Association along with a direct mail component. The eBrochure message included a 30-second video featuring Nissan automobiles and a cash rebate offer for association members. Two more campaigns will launch this summer.

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