Macromedia Inc., San Francisco, the online software vendor best-known for its products DreamWeaver and Shockwave Player, said an e-mail marketing campaign it launched late last year for its DreamWeaver Fireworks 3 application was its most successful product launch ever.
Macromedia said it sent its targeted e-mail marketing campaign to its worldwide customer base. The company sent out the messages about the new product between November and March.
“The e-mail marketing campaigns were successful because we had the targeting ability and were able to speak directly to customers as they identified themselves to us,” said Tod Abernathy, director of database marketing at Macromedia. “If the customer was a DreamWeaver or Macromedia user already, we had a specific message in the e-mail for that customer. If it was somebody that downloaded our trial software — and did nothing else with us — then we spoke to that customer in a different way.”
For example, if a customer already was a DreamWeaver 2 user, that customer received a better price for the new product in the e-mail message than a customer who did not already own the product. Much of the campaign's success stems from a database marketing system the company implemented last year that involves both e-commerce and campaign management software.
Here's how Macromedia's system works: First, Macromedia collects data on its customers by offering free trial downloads of its software in exchange for customer names, mailing addresses and e-mail addresses. Customers provide the data through registration forms on Macromedia's Web site. Each download is usable for 30 days. After customers download the free software, Macromedia immediately sends them an e-mail thanking them and informing them of where to go for assistance. Then, before the trial software expires, Macromedia sends another message to try and facilitate the sale. When a customer decides to keep the software, Macromedia provides the customer with a code to unlock the full functionality of the program, thereby making the product the customer's own. If the customer does not choose to buy the program, the software will expire and become unusable.
Information about customers who download the trial version is collected automatically, immediately after customers fill out the registration forms, via the One-To-One product set from BroadVision Inc., Redwood City, CA, a personalized e-business application vendor. The product updates Macromedia's membership repository every two minutes, giving Macromedia updates and reports about the site's activity.
“Every two minutes, we are getting new records, and the BroadVision tool allows us to — in near real time — understand, log and report on what is actually happening on the site,” Abernathy said.
This information also is automatically sent to Macromedia's Oracle-based membership database where, sitting on top of it, there is a campaign management system called Protagona, from Recognition Software, Chicago. Protagona couples information about Web consumers with knowledge gained from all visitors to the Macromedia site. Macromedia also uses Protagona's e-mail marketing components for its e-mail campaigns.
Essentially, the Protagona tool helps Macromedia track, create and send the 10 to 15 e-mail campaigns the company launches daily. The product “further qualifies the records that are coming through every two minutes based upon criteria we have selected for a specific campaign,” according to the company.
Abernathy said the system allows Macromedia to execute targeted, diverse and creative e-mail marketing campaigns. “The system also enables Macromedia to do segmentation more easily,” he said. “We used to do it offline, but now we can do it in real time.”
After a thorough review of the leading companies and products in campaign management software, conducted by Macromedia and by the San Francisco office of KPMG, a consulting firm, Macromedia chose Protagona in the first quarter of 1999. Macromedia and the San Francisco office of KPMG, a consulting firm, conducted the review.
“Protagona offered an up-and-coming technology which fit very well with Macromedia,” Abernathy said. “At Macromedia, we look for companies that are willing to partner in with us and grow with us, so as our application changes, so will theirs.”
In addition, the e-mail component of the tool “was built entirely from spec based on what Macromedia requested. We like that,” Abernathy said. “If we see enhancements that we think will help our e-marketing applications, we can tell the engineers over at recognition systems what we want, and within weeks, we can usually see the enhancements that we requested. That is extremely hard to find in any other vendor.”
However, Abernathy said there are some trade-offs. Because the software is often in a testing mode, “I run it in beta a whole lot more than running it in production, but at the end of the day, I get what I want.”
Protagona software continues to use all the information available through every Macromedia marketing channel to further personalize future customers' experience. Protagona also offers Macromedia multichannel capabilities, which would allow it to market to its customers through each of its customer touchpoints, including its Web site and other traditional marketing channels such as direct mail, product registration, e-mail and direct sales contact. However, Macromedia currently does not have plans for these capabilities.
“We used to be very heavily into postal mail, but we've really migrated over to where we hardly do any postal mail at all,” Abernathy said. “We do it maybe once a quarter, if at all.”