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DMer Heads Branding Group's E-Mail Arm

In a bit of marketing irony, the brand-advertising-focused Interactive Advertising Bureau has named a direct marketer to head its newly formed e-mail committee.

The IAB, an association that claims more than 100 member companies representing more than 75 percent of online advertising sold in the United States, announced two new committees yesterday, a newsletter committee and an e-mail committee.

Michael Mayor, president/CEO of e-mail list management and development firm NetCreations, New York, will head the e-mail committee.

The development is another example of e-mail service providers trying to get more of brand advertisers' budgets. E-mail services provider Bigfoot Interactive, New York, late last month debuted BrandIndex, a service that it claims measures the brand awareness, message association, brand favorability, brand loyalty and purchase intent for acquisition and retention e-mail marketing.

“The case [for e-mail] has been built in terms of direct response, driving people to a channel and in terms of cost savings from offline to online,” Al DiGuido, Bigfoot Interactive CEO, said at the time. “This is one more arrow in the quiver saying 'and beyond all of those reasons, there's a branding reason as well.'”

Along those same lines, Mayor sees heading the IAB's e-mail committee as a way to reach a new audience to pitch the benefits of his company's wares.

“This is more of a chance to spout the benefits of e-mail marketing to people like media buyers and media planners of ad agencies,” he said. “Direct marketing is a broad term, but the [Direct Marketing Association] is really addressing the traditional list managers and brokers of the world, and there are many more users of e-mail marketing.”

The IAB “is a different forum for e-mail marketing” than the DMA's Association for Interactive Marketing's Council for Responsible E-mail, Mayor said.

He added that agencies represent about one-third of NetCreations' business, and that they have been overlooked in traditional direct marketing circles.

One of the IAB e-mail committee's tasks will be to set privacy guidelines and accredit companies whose e-mail marketing practices are in compliance with them.

Mayor added that he wants to teach brand marketers about effective e-mail marketing without pigeonholing it into traditional direct marketing, “which is what the DMA does.”

Also, the IAB carries less political baggage than the DMA when it comes to e-mail, Mayor said.

The DMA has long struggled with setting responsible e-mail policies while answering to its traditional members. For example, it took the association four years to come out against e-mail address harvesting, a practice that on its face looked to traditional direct marketers as akin to the practice of compiling addresses from a telephone book in the postal world, but in reality has helped pollute people's e-mail boxes almost beyond use with pornography and other undesirable marketing correspondence.

“I don't want to have those kinds of conflicts,” Mayor said. “This is an easier avenue for me.”

TechTarget CEO Greg Strakosch will head the IAB's newsletter committee.

IAB members include AOL, CNET, MSN, Overture, Walt Disney Internet Group and Yahoo.

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