ValueFlash Deal Brings Christian Music Fans Into Fold

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ValueFlash.com, New York, came to an agreement last month with EMI Christian Music Group Inc. to offer Christian music fans targeted offers and information about the genre.


ValueFlash, an Internet-based direct marketing applications provider, offers marketers downloadable technology that allows them to reach their target audience through a branded icon set on a user's PC desktop.


Through the application, marketers are able to deliver information to the branded icon, which blinks whenever new offers and information are sent. Customers can click on the icon and cause a Vflash messenger containing relevant data to pop up.


The technology, which can be downloaded via e-mail, Web site or CD, aims to help marketers communicate more effectively with their customers. Upon installing the Vflash application, customers can customize the types of offers and information they receive.


Because customers are required to provide some demographic information when customizing the service, ValueFlash representatives said, companies are able to pick up key data for their marketing campaigns. Vflash, however, does not require a user's name or address.


The company communicates with customers through a random number that is associated with the branded icon on the desktop, said Russell Kern, senior vice president of marketing at ValueFlash. Marketers may require customer information to develop their databases, he said.


EMI Christian Music Group, Nashville, TN, plans to distribute the application via its CDs. The company also is set to launch an e-mail campaign to inform its more than 250,000 registered e-mail users about Vflash, said David Caldwell, senior vice president and general manager at the Sparrow Label Group, a subsidiary of EMI.


EMI plans initially to deliver the application through a multimedia CD for the album "Learning to Breathe," recorded by Switchfoot.


The company also plans to make the application available through its Web site -- www.emicmg.com.


"Once we've got [customers] interested, we want to keep them interested," Caldwell said. "We want to keep consistent updates going out to them that are going to be relevant to what they're asking for."


In partnering with ValueFlash, EMI also formed an alliance with CDKnet, ValueFlash's sister company. CDKnet, New York, an Internet entertainment technology provider, supplied EMI with the multimedia technology to deliver the application to Christian music fans via CDs.


"There's a lot of synergy [between the sister companies] because a lot of companies use the CDs as a distribution mechanism for this Vflash application," Kern said. "And the user will be driven to put it in their computer because there will be some other multimedia information included on the disc."


Caldwell said that before using Vflash the company ran e-mail campaigns that recorded response rates of 3 percent to 5 percent, with about 2 percent of those being lost because of a lack of relevance. With Vflash, he expects to see a 10 percent to 15 percent response rate.


The application, Caldwell said, has already produced that type of effectiveness for ValueFlash's two most recent clients, Blockbuster and NBC Enterprises.


Click-through and response rate percentages are still not available for NBC Enterprises, which partnered with ValueFlash two months ago, but Vflash has indeed generated traffic to its Web site, said Kim Niemi, vice president of business development-music at NBC Enterprises.


"It's still too early to tell what the impact is completely," she said, "but those who are using the messenger have remained active and interested, which means the information they get must not only be helpful, but it also drives them back to our Web site."


Caldwell said he values the targeting capabilities of Vflash. "With Vflash, we're going to be able to target the different genres to the different age groups much more effectively," he said.
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