YesMail Eyes CRM Market With Netcentives Deal

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YesMail intends to use its acquisition of Post Communications, the e-mail marketing arm of bankrupt loyalty firm Netcentives Inc., to expand its offerings in the burgeoning customer relationship management market.


The Chicago-based e-mail marketer said this week it will acquire Post Communications. The company will pay about $2 million for the Netcentives division.


The acquisition is part of YesMail's repositioning, in which it plans to shift focus from providing e-mail prospecting services to providing customer retention and acquisition services. The company began this shift in August.


"This deal is definitely an extension of what we are trying to do," said Dave Menzel, YesMail's CEO. "This enables our marketing clients to run e-mail marketing programs that are integrated into customer service."


The Post Communications deal adds 20 new clients to YesMail's customer base, including Hewlett-Packard, 3Com, Wegmans Food Markets and Countrywide Home Loans. Menzel said there is some overlap between YesMail's and Netcentives' clients but that they are "complementary, not competitive" and that the transition to YesMail should not affect their businesses.


"This gives us a lot more bandwidth to go after CRM customers," he said. "Campaigns more and more are using e-mail as a component of the overall strategy. The challenge is that marketers need to make it work right. They need to send targeted, relevant messages."


With the acquisition, YesMail has about 35 clients on the retention side of its business and about 30 million opt-in e-mail names in its database, he said.


YesMail said it intends to offer jobs to most of Post Communications' 75 employees, but Menzel could not say exactly how many would be asked to stay.


Netcentives in October filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The company intends to maintain the operations of its loyalty programs and services, including the ClickRewards, Delta SkyMiles Shopping and United MileagePlus Shopping rewards networks.


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