Inside Line: Internet adds to capabilities of telemarketing

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Marketing Communication Systems, an Ivyland, Pa.-based provider of e-marketing solutions for Fortune 1,000 companies, launched the Enterprise Interaction Center to expand its telemarketing capabilities via the Internet. The company's call center representatives can chat online and share a desktop through a Web browser with customers, enabling real-time interaction. The technology also allows customer service reps to forward targeted offers to users online while they're speaking with them over the phone.

First USA, a subsidiary of Bank One Corp., and online direct marketer LifeMinders, Herndon, Va., signed a multimillion-dollar, multi-year deal through which LifeMinders will send personalized promotions for First USA's credit card products to its 18 million members. First USA is a leading issuer of Visa cards. The targeted offers could feature hundreds of cards with specific benefits relevant to consumers, such as the British Airways Platinum Visa for LifeMinders members signed up to receive travel-specific e-mails.

Draft Worldwide, Chicago, acquired Fuel Advertising, Toronto, which specializes in retail and promotional marketing as well as digital pre-press and production. The buyout is Draft's third Canadian acquisition in less than two years.

Val-Pak, Largo, Fla., signed a partnership with Ten Square to provide digital coupon data from Valpak.com through Ten Square's system that broadcasts content through Internet-enabled gas pumps, kiosks and ATMs. The effort is in test in Atlanta, where consumers will be able to view promotions for local businesses while they shop or fill their gas tanks.

Catalina Marketing Corp., St. Petersburg, Fla., in an effort to attract new users to its ValuPage online promotions division (valupage.com), is participating in a study by wireless marketing company SkyGo, San Mateo, Calif., to determine the effectiveness of SkyGo's wireless direct marketing model. SkyGo gave more than 1,000 mobile phones to consumers in Boulder, Colo., through which they will receive marketing messages from local advertisers and national brands.

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