The direct approach

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You may have a bit of trouble catching up with John Audette and members of his Multimedia Marketing Group staff the day after a particularly awesome snowfall.

More than likely, they will be among the thousands of other residents of Bend, Ore., who take off for nearby Bachelor Mountain in celebration of "Powder Days, unofficial half-day sabbaticals that follow substantial snowfalls.

Fortunately, the same rules don't apply when it comes to handling the company's clients.

Despite snow, rain or any other diversion, Multimedia Marketing Group continues to pump out a veritable flood of Internet advertising, promotions, public relations and highly specific e-mail campaigns in an effort to help marketers target messages with pinpoint demographic accuracy.

What sets Multimedia Marketing Group apart, says Mr. Audette, president and CEO of the 4-year-old company, is "Internet trench marketing, which involves everything but banner advertising."

"The cliche out there right now is `beyond the banner,' " says Mr. Audette. "However, we call it `before the banner,' which basically means a whole suite of marketing activities that are more cost effective than banner advertising."

To help clients target their audiences, Mr. Audette publishes a variety of e-mail newsletters and discussion lists that focus on Internet marketing tactics and are offered through clients' Web sites.

For example, his daily "Internet Sales" newsletter has about 12,000 subscribers. Another publication, "I-Search," targets search engine technologies and has roughly 5,000 subscribers.

The e-mail publications are sent free of charge by subscription, says Mr. Audette, who is a strong opponent of unsolicited e-mail and spam. The company's Web site even offers advice and tools that can be downloaded to combat spam.

By publishing a newsletter and maintaining subscriber information, Mr. Audette can compile a demographic profile of people. That information then can be used to develop a sharply focused Web advertising campaign. The company can also send specific information to people who have requested it.

One company sold on Multimedia Marketing's strong Web-based demographics approach is, an online seller of prints and posters. It relies on the company for Internet promotions, ad placement on search engines and portals, and even the creation of new interactive products to pull cruisers into the Web site.

In fact, the campaigns have been so successful that has had more than 10,000 paying customers walk through its Web site doors.

"We cannot do what they do for us with our current staff," says Michael Kahn,'s VP-marketing. "It's a combination of them having the capabilities in terms of media-buying negotiations and their creative product."

Another client is LinkExchange, a San Francisco-based company that provides Web-based products and services to more than 800,000 customers worldwide. Multimedia Marketing publishes a 110,000-subscriber e-mail publication called the "LinkExchange Digest, one of the largest discussion lists on the Internet.

At the same time, Multimedia Marketing, which is opening an office in New York, is looking beyond e-mail newsletters as others crowd the field. Mr. Audette says possible new areas include custom publishing and targeting advertising to corporate intranets and extranets.

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