Miller/Huber Gains Encirq Business

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Online marketing services company Encirq Corp. named Miller/Huber Relationship Marketing, San Francisco, as its first relationship marketing agency.


Encirq's Illuminated Statement debut product converts electronic statements such as those generated by credit card and checking accounts into interactive marketing media.


Miller/Huber competed with Asylum, San Francisco, for the account. The budget was not disclosed.


"We expect Miller/Huber to help us develop programs that introduce consumers to Illuminated Statements, as well as programs that educate retailers and content providers about this new tool and how it can be used to aggregate and market to key audiences," said Jay Dean, vice president of marketing at Encirq, San Francisco.


Miller/Huber's duties will include building bank marketing programs and corporate marketing projects.


"The strategy is to clearly articulate the benefits of the Illuminated Statement to multiple audiences -- the merchants who provide the offers, the bank and credit card companies who offer the products [to the customer] and then, ultimately, the end consumer," said Bradley Hazelrigg, vice president of account services at Miller/Huber. "A big part of the relationship marketing task is developing the customer care strategy."


Strategies being considered include e-mail marketing, micro-sites, online tours and direct mail.


"We probably won't be doing general advertising," Hazelrigg said.


Founded in 1989, Miller/Huber has a client list that includes British Airways, Cisco Systems and LifeScan. Last year's revenue totaled $20 million.


The agency specializes in using customer data to analyze behavior. Its technology enables marketers to target messages to consumers based on their purchasing behavior. Through this technology, consumers have the option of receiving targeted advertising in their online billing statements.


Encirq will initially partner with retailers and banks to place ads next to entries contained in credit card billing statements accessed online. Consumers will be asked to opt in to receive the ads from retailers when they visit their bank's Web site to check their statements.


Then, Encirq will download an applet into the Web browsers of bank customers who opt in. Once the applet is downloaded, Encirq's technology collects the consumer's transactional information to create a profile. The profile is built, managed and analyzed on the consumer's computer.


The profile evaluates the targeting criteria and pulls in the most relevant messages for the consumer.


If a consumer's electronic bank statement shows a payment due to a marketer signed up with Encirq, for example, the customer could be presented with a message promoting the marketer's service. The ad could be a banner or a text message.


If the marketer participates in Encirq's Links and Logo program, it also could sport a link to its Web site. The merchant's link will appear to the left of the billing entry.


Encirq will collect several commercial messages from the marketer that it will host on its own servers. Each message will have conditional targeting criteria attached to it.


The company will start with credit card statements because it is the richest source of transactional information regarding consumers. Encirq will reach out to credit card issuers and processors that provide online banking services to a large number of banks.


Encirq's beta testers include the Bank of Hawaii and DotsConnect.com, a subsidiary of Total Systems Services, the nation's second-largest credit card processor.


Encirq will initially offer the Links and Logo program free to retailers and marketers. But it intends to charge a negotiated fee at a later date based on the complexity of the targeting criteria. Currently, it will charge for targeted messages that are either banner ads or text only.


In addition, Encirq will sell space not only to the retailer or marketer next to its billing entry, but also to advertisers that prefer banners at the bottom of the page.


"This way, consumers get messages with relevancy, financial institutions monetize their data and marketers get an opportunity target based on actual consumer transaction behavior while protecting consumer privacy," Encirq's Dean said.
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