Direct mail pioneer MessageMedia has entered Europe after opening a subsidiary to service the continent, including the UK.
MessageMedia organises and executes email campaigns on behalf of businesses to their existing customers. As well as working for US businesses, MessageMedia has Bertelsmann's online bookselling venture BOL and Barclays Bank's BarclaySquare online service listed as customers. Forrester Research estimates 250 billion emails will be outsourced (sent by means of a service bureau) by 2002, up from three billion this past year.
David Ehrenthal, European managing director of MessageMedia, said: "We expect to have 200 customers by the end of next year. Businesses love customised e-messaging because it costs so much less than traditional direct mail. Marketing costs in the real world can be as high as 40 per cent of the price of the product. Using e-messaging they can come down to 15 per cent. Also, the response rate is significantly higher."
The European subsidiary is a joint venture with @viso. @viso is itself a joint venture between French communications conglomerate Vivendi and Japanese high-tech giant Softbank. The joint venture was formed specifically to facilitate the expansion of US Internet companies into continental Europe.
Robin Green, vice president of sales and marketing at MessageMedia, said more joint ventures were expected in the UK, Australian, Japanese and Asian markets.
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