NEC Enters U.S. E-Mail Marketing Business

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Japanese electronics giant NEC Corp. is getting into the rich media e-mail marketing business in the United States, and hopes its new company, Auraline Inc., will help it capitalize on what it sees as an emerging trend -- interactive e-mail marketing.


Auraline, San Jose, CA, was established this month and capitalized with $5.7 million, NEC said. NEC and its subsidiaries NEC Systems Inc. and NEC Soft Ltd. own the company. Auraline, which has 15 employees, hopes to generate sales of $2.5 million in its first year and $104 million within three years.


The company will leverage software developed by NEC that can create cartoon characters that feature mouth and body movements in sync with a soundtrack, the company said.


"Our focus is on rich media," said Jun Takamura, Auraline's CEO. "E-mail marketing is our primary concern right now."


He said that the company last year tested its rich media e-mail delivery system with a greeting card campaign that delivered 130,000 cards. It also sent out about 55,000 e-mail messages promoting the new company. About 57 percent of those messages were opened, he said.


Auraline said it can deliver more than 1 million e-mail messages per day and claims a response rate between three and 16 times higher than traditional direct mail.


Takamura said Auraline has worked on campaigns for NEC subsidiary NEC America and OKI Semiconductor. He said that while the company plans to promote itself to Japanese companies, Auraline would seek clients worldwide. He also said the company plans to announce contracts with some new clients later next month.
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