New Product Delivers Spark to Online Marketing

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New Product Delivers Spark to Online Marketing
D. Geller - May 10, 2000

Event Summary

Responsys Jumpstart is designed to bring the power of Responsys' permission marketing engine to smaller companies than its typical customers, which include Verisign, Virgin, eToys and Lands' End. Responsys products, both the new Jumpstart and the Responsys Insight and Responsys Interact products targeted to the larger companies, offer complete control of e-mail marketing campaigns and integration with other corporate data and systems. An important feature of all products is that they are almost impossible to use as spamming tools.

Responsys builds privacy controls into its products by making them enforce a strong opt-in model. Every e-mail sent out by the system contains both the name of the sender and the name and contact information for Responsys - and offers a one-click unsubscribe option. In addition, the company requires each of its customers to sign a privacy contract and claims it will enforce those contracts by spot checks.

For the Jumpstart product, to make privacy simpler for customers and users, there is an additional restriction: A name gets on a company's e-mail list only if the surfer opts in from a web page and then responds to a verification e-mail. As Atri Chatterjee, Vice President for Product Marketing, points out, "Our whole business depends on us not being identified as spammers. So we have to enforce permission marketing on all of our customers."

The Responsys marketing engine allows companies to create and track e-mail marketing campaigns that can be integrated with any aspect of their business, including all e-commerce functions. For example, Lands' End began using the product only for the purpose of sending e-mail newsletters, but has since brought it into their order confirmation process as well.

With a family of defined connectors to commerce systems and web traffic profilers and a native JDBC capability for connecting to any corporate database, a company can integrate all of the data about which it knows to create an e-mail campaign with individualized messages, cross sells, and comprehensive real-time reports.

All of the Responsys products are traditionally offered on an ASP basis although the company is willing to discuss licensing arrangements. The Jumpstart product differs from the others in that it is designed to be especially easy to set up and use. It is entirely template driven so that a company can design and launch a marketing campaign in as little as 30 minutes. The available campaign templates include web signups, newsletters, announcements and personalized offers, all of which can be created by a marketing person without any need for HTML skills.

During the beta period customers may send up to 1000 e-mails each month for no charge; the beta period will extend approximately through the end of June. Since data from Jumpstart can be moved to Interact, Jumpstart also provides an excellent way for a larger company to try before buying.

Market Impact

Keeping customers is vitally important for online businesses, because online customers like to shop around and have no innate loyalty to individual merchants. Given the high initial cost of the first sale to a given surfer, drawing customers back is a requirement for most sites, By bringing powerful capabilities within range of smaller companies Responsys adds a lot of value to a nascent market.

We expect to see this model of offering copied by others. A simple to use, template oriented system with strong privacy controls is likely to be an attractive product, and one that will undoubtedly attract imitators.

User Recommendations

A company in Responsys' target range that has been looking for a way to get into e-mail marketing has no excuse for not taking advantage of the beta offer. Even if 500 e-mails is too small a number to be of significant value, the offer provides an excellent opportunity to try a campaign management product. This experience will be invaluable in learning how such campaigns can work and what kinds of features your company can best use. Product selection would be a whole lot easier if every product could be tried out for free with only 30 minutes of setup.

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