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Time.com stomps into CRM territory with Bigfoot

Bigfoot Interactive has been chosen by Time Magazine's online component to attract site visitors to subscribe to a special online archive featuring 16 years of Time articles.

New York-based Time.com, the online component of the magazine's print publication, is gearing up to promote 16 years of Time articles. The articles will be hosted on Time.com. To engage subscribers, Time selected Bigfoot Interactive for e-mail marketing.

The New York-based direct e-mail marketing vendor will provide the Time Archive with e-mail marketing software, consulting, campaign management, creative development and analytics. Bigfoot will also evaluate the performance of the e-mail campaign against other mediums to determine effectiveness and ROI.

Time wanted to use e-mail to promote the archives because it is easy for customers to click through a link in the e-mail, according to Kelly Leach, manager of business development and research for Time.com. "It's one less obstacle for consumers," she said.

The initial program, set to roll out in the latter part of 2001, will teach Time what types of offers and targeting best hook consumers, as well as which are most effective from a financial viability standpoint, Leach said.

"Our plan is to continue...to build on knowledge and focus on the elements and offers that perform well," she said. By using e-mail instead of offline promotion methods, Time expects to quickly accumulate program effectiveness data.

Bigfoot will begin testing the offer and its creative components, such as e-mail copy, during the second week of September. During the week of Sept. 17, Bigfoot will conduct more creative testing, which will include flash promotions and branding. Each test has 10,000 subscribers. The full rollout will begin in October, said Michael Della Penna, vice president of marketing at Bigfoot.

Interactive Relationship Marketing (IRMa), the e-mail engine, allows for dynamic content assembly and segmentation. The segmentation allows companies to build content that is relevant to the customer. One of Bigfoot's customers has 65 different variables, creating 65 different versions of the promotional e-mails, Della Penna said.

IRMa runs on Sun servers and an Oracle database. It includes a link check component to detect broken links in e-mails, as well as deliver HTML content to AOL 6.0 users, he said.

Time has already implemented IRMa, which was a positive experience, according to Leach. Previously, the company used an older version of Bigfoot's reporting software.

Bigfoot describes the publishing industry as different from other industries, because of the large size of databases and the need to produce newsletters on a regular basis. IRMa automates uploading newsletters and content on a regular time-driven need, Della Penna said.

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