Rich Media Email Transforms Direct Marketing
But rich media email does more than that. It also offers elements of broadcast advertising, with audio and video components "that deliver an emotional type of message. We use email as a vehicle to deliver broadcast TV quality content," Lyon says.
The core of the TMX system is AST (automatic sensing technology), its proprietary technology, which is used to send rich media email. "Our goal is to make delivering TV quality content as seamless as possible, regardless of whether it's being sent to a PC or a Mac and the bandwidth," he says.
The company is full service and can do the creative work itself, or work with a client's agency and deliver existing creative.
It also provides measurement functions, tracking how recipients interact and respond to each message.
Clients include Charles Schwab, BMG Music, eTrade, Lexus, Saab, Pontiac, MSNBC and First USA. They send a variety of rich media emails, including flash movies with sound and animation, re-purposed TV commercials and customized video spots, which were created for the email campaigns.
What makes the rich media direct marketing is that it asks for action. There are occasional branding campaigns, Lyon says, but most of the rich media is followed by a request for a response. A car maker might offer a test drive, a company might ask recipients to sign up for a seminar, a retailer might download a coupon. "There are a lot of direct response mechanisms you can do in email," Lyon says, which seems to be another advantage over traditional direct mail, which can't ask for as many different types of action.
Another client is Cruise411.com, an online cruise booking service that needed a new way to market cruise packages in a weakened travel environment after Sept. 11. The company had developed three data bases--people who booked cruises, people who registered at the site and people who registered for sweepstakes and promotional offerings. The goal of the campaign was to sell cruises and segment its customers in a different way, according to Cruise411 president/CEO Dave Lucas.
The campaign started in December and lasted for two weeks, with email sent to a half million names from the three data bases. The creative was a video promoting cruises from Norwegian Cruise Lines, a Cruise411 partner. The rich media element lasted 10 seconds. "TV is still the best way to sell cruises, but simply too costly for us to use," Lucas says.
Nearly 17 percent of those who viewed the message responded to it. "The performance was higher than other campaigns because of the quality of the creative," Lucas says. It was higher for all three groups.