Grey goes global with e-mail marketing

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Grey eMMetrics, the e-mail marketing division of Grey Global Group's Grey Direct, New York, signed on Internet language school Englishtown.com, its highest-volume client with 60 million e-mail messages sent around the world each month, as part of its strategy to expand its e-mail offering globally.

The online subsidiary of bricks-and-mortar language school EF Education tapped Grey to send marketing e-mails and track responses. For Englishtown, a private company for which funds are tight, the ability to track the effectiveness of e-mail campaigns allows it to determine the most cost-effective strategies by analyzing returns.

"We'll be able to track promotions and see which are successful and which are not, and that will have an impact as we grow in terms of what sort of promotions we continue to do," said Jennifer Adams, e-mail marketing manager at Englishtown. The Web site, based in Cambridge, Mass., has more than 1 million subscribers around the world, primarily in Asia and Latin America, and was attracted to Grey's international reach. "It is really a great synergy given that Grey is so global," she added. "We had not found any company that is as global as we."

In January, Grey eMMetrics began rolling out the e-mail platform to Grey Direct offices around the world. At this time, Grey offices in Belgium, Greece, Sweden, the U.K. and Venezuela are offering the Web-based e-mail platform, which combines proprietary and partner tools to manage e-mail campaigns from creation of content, to execution and delivery, to back-end tracking and analysis. Grey eMMetrics will soon be operational in Finland and France as well, said Jeanniey Mullen, general manager of the e-mail division.

Although international markets, in general, are a few years behind the U.S. in terms of e-mail marketing popularity and adoption, according to Ms. Mullen, Grey is offering it to all global offices. "The offices that are promoting it are really basing it on client need," Ms. Mullen said. "As the clients are showing the need and demand for it, the offices are integrating it."

"The Internet is behind overseas in general," said Jared Blank, an analyst at Jupiter Media Metrix. "E-mail marketing is behind because the Internet is behind."

But the e-mail market is too massive to ignore, according to Mr. Blank, who said marketers will spend $1 billion on e-mail marketing this year and $9.4 billion by 2006, according to Jupiter's most recent forecast.

"It's a huge business, and very fragmented, so there's no reason not to take a piece of it," Mr. Blank said, although it is unclear where agencies like Grey will shake out amidst e-mail-only specialists such as Bigfoot Interactive, Digital Impact and MessageMedia. "It will be interesting to see whether [agencies] decide to develop technology on their own, or to partner, or to buy. There hasn't been enough movement by agencies yet to see which direction they're going."

Grey eMMetrics, for one, is blending custom-built tools with those of partners, like streaming audio from push-to-talk technology from ITXC.

Forrester Research analyst Shar VanBoskirk said agencies, with expertise in creative execution and strategy, would be smarter to focus on those skills instead of technology-heavy, e-mail deployment and tracking.

"Everyone wants to be in e-mail marketing, and agencies are doing the same thing. They want to be part of e-mail because it's such a hot thing. I think it's silly for an agency to develop e-mail technology because there's so much technology already out there," Ms. VanBoskirk said. "What the agency is good at is helping their clients identify who their customers are and what the best messages are for reaching those customers."

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