*Responsys, BlueStreak to Share Technology, Customer BasesApplication service provider Responsys.com is expected to announce this week that it will use technology from rich- media company BlueStreak.com for its outbound marketing e-mails. And just as importantly, both firms will begin encouraging their clients to use the other company's services.
The firms are exhibiting at the Direct Marketing Association's net.Marketing show in Seattle through tomorrow.
Responsys, Palo Alto, CA, hosts merchants' marketing campaigns, especially
e-mail promotions. The agreement with BlueStreak fills a gap for Responsys, whose clients increasingly say they want rich media in their e-mail campaigns. Similarly, BlueStreak, Newport, RI, is taking a greater interest in e-mail.
But of equal significance to each firm is the chance to reach the other's customer bases.
"People are looking for a variety of different marketing capabilities, so BlueStreak will talk about Responsys.com for the permission-based marketing we can do [to] augment some of the banner work their customers do," said Atri Chatterjee, Responsys.com's vice president of marketing. "And vice versa, we will talk to our customers about using ... some of the BlueStreak functionality to basically try out and do richer media, personalized e-mail messages," he said.
BlueStreak and other rich media firms make banners and other ads that employ sound, special visual effects or the ability to react to a mouse arrow without a click. Rich media is favored by some Internet marketers because its click-through rates typically exceed those of standard GIF-based online advertising. Rich media banners also can be connected in real time to a database.
The two companies' sales forces will be taught how to incorporate one another's products in the pitches they make to potential clients, Chatterjee said. Both firms sell to merchants and the agencies that run ad campaigns for them.
Responsys.com's technology is designed to let marketers run their own campaigns through a Web interface. Companies log onto their Responsys account to carry out promotions, primarily to their own customer lists. Responsys manages personalization.
"Think about us as a Yahoo Mail on steroids," Chatterjee said. The company pitches itself on convenience, saying it allows marketers to avoid the hassles of buying software and installing it.
Campaigns run off the Responsys.com server, but Chatterjee insisted his clients keep and manage all the customer data they gather through their e-mail promotions. Companies are able to move their data on and off the Responsys.com system.
"That account is like a safety deposit box in a bank," he said. Responsys.com's clients include traditional direct merchant Lands' End Inc., as well as eBay Inc., textbook vendor VarsityBooks.com and UK-based giant Virgin.
Firms pay Responsys.com a subscription. The company asks for annual commitments, but clients pay on a monthly basis depending on how much they use the technology.
BlueStreak clients include AT&T Corp., barnesandnoble.com, Net ad shop i-frontier.