One company that is already reaping the rewards of using the Internet in conjunction with offline media is Bluestreak Inc., which specializes in lead generation and referral marketing through several technology platforms, including email platform IonMail, ad server Ad Manager and various other marketing platforms.
And they're doing most of it through the oldest of all online ad formats: the banner.
"It feels today that companies are getting the direct marketing aspects of the Internet," says company EVP and Chief Marketing Officer Annette Tonti, who founded Bluestreak in the late 1990s in Newport, RI. Today, the company is still privately held, with offices in New York, Dallas, San Francisco and London, and has been profitable for 6 months.
Tonti says Bluestreak, whose closest competitor is DoubleClick, is positioning itself as "the single source for marketers and agencies," offering services for every stage of the marketing cycles: awareness, acquisition, conversion, retention and loyalty.
The trend in the online advertising industry right now, Tonti says, is moving from "visibility medium to lead generation medium," largely due to the fact that online, the metrics tie more closely to direct mail and email campaign results than traditional advertising measurement.
For example, a European car manufacturer recently used Bluestreak to serve 7 million banner ads on a total of 10 sites, which Tonti considers an almost negligible volume, but those banners generated more than 200 initial test drive requests, more then 250 confirmed test drives booked from the Bluestreak form and over 70 confirmed test drives booked from PDAs. Also, more than 30 people recommended a test drive to their friends.
As Tonti says, "The same little units we built in 1998/99 are now coming back as direct marketing vehicles."