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21st Century Backs Futuristic E-Mail

What's an established company in a mature business like lists doing pushing the frontiers of online communications?

That question was put to David O. Schwartz, president/CEO of 21st Century Marketing, Farmingdale, NY. His company collaborated with ActiveStream Technologies Inc., Burnaby, British Columbia, to launch StickEmail VAMP, an interactive video e-mail.

“We're doing it for a couple of reasons,” Schwartz said. “One is, 'What can this technology do to transform 21st Century Marketing?' Can this provide us with a significant competitive advantage? And my answer is 'yes.' Secondly, StickEmail is a viable business, so it takes us into the technology marketplace, which is ripe with opportunity. I hope to leverage the assets of 21st Century as a springboard for growing StickEmail.”

Roughly 50 companies and organizations have signed on to use StickEmail. They include Cendant, Banta, DST Technologies, Planet One Components, Astea International and Sole Custom Footbeds.

The technology debuted at the end of October, targeting mostly business-to-business companies that want to send rich media e-mails. The e-mail can be used for marketing, human resources, business development or account representation.

For senders, StickEmail doesn't require downloads, encoding, attachments or third-party media players except the ability to see and hear Flash videos, a high-speed Internet connection and a Webcam to record the video. It does not require a technician to deploy once the software is installed on the user's computer.

“This technology allows for ad hoc use,” Schwartz said. “The ordinary business person, salesman, rep [or] newsmaker can quickly and easily access this technology with 15 minutes of training.”

The e-mails are deployed via the user's Outlook program or whatever route the company uses to send its commercial e-mail. But the videos are streamed from the ActiveStream servers in Canada.

The e-mails can be tracked for open and click-through rates through rich media asset manager StickEmail Tracker.

For StickEmail recipients, the requirements are simple: a high-speed Internet connection and speakers. What they will see is a personalized video message created on the sender's desktop computer.

“We have people who are seeing 20 [percent] to 30 percent open levels … and the click throughs are as great as 20 [percent] to 25 percent,” Schwartz said.

StickEmail has several variations. One is StickEmail Messenger for users to create video-based e-mails. Another is StickEmail Publisher, a tool that produces Web pages and newsletters. StickEmail Presenter is for presentations using PowerPoint.

There also is the StickEmail VAMPStudio. Designed for Web portals, this StickEmail template links personal video messages to movie trailers, online greeting cards and animations. Again, it can be distributed via the regular e-mail channels.

The license fee for StickEmail Messenger is $75 per user monthly. Set-up and connection fees are extra. Schwartz's company will send software via an e-mail or on a CD-ROM for download to the user's desktop computer. More details are available on www.21stcm.com/stickemail.

Schwartz hopes StickEmail's use ultimately brings more business to his 28-year-old company. Marketers may want to rent the e-mail files managed and brokered by 21st Century Marketing, for instance.

“I'm using this technology to revitalize and change the way list marketing is done today,” he said. “The risk if we don't do this is boredom and stagnancy.”

Watch the interview with David O. Schwartz at http://www.dmnews.com/video

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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