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Rock & Roll In Your Email?

Posted on March 6, 2001

by Mike Banks Valentine

You groggily stumble from bed and turn on the computer as you pass by on your way to the kitchen. Returning with the morning's first cup of coffee you fire up your browser and log-on to the web as you take the first few eye-opening sips. Downloading your personal email, you notice your favorite Bruce Springsteen song title in the subject line of the seventh email message and open it first.



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There is a photo of the Boss (that's Springsteen to you non-fans) smiling out at you from the email window above a small button that is labled "Play". Expecting to hear some good music, you click the button and Bruce Springsteen springs to life in your email! He's talking to you! Not at you, but to you, using your name! "Good morning Mike! It's time for a concert update."

How the *!?*)@(! do they do that? You have been looking forward to his concert this coming week and can't believe your ears as Springsteen continues to talk with you, mentioning your 3rd row, center seat number and reminding you of concert time this Thursday evening. You are tempted to answer him as he pauses and smiles but then the opening riff of guitar begins of your favorite song from the new album and the Boss is performing for you from your email box!

He pauses and tells you that you can order his newest album from the form below and as the video finishes and the music fades you scroll down to find a "Buy it Now!" button. There is no need to enter any credit card information as it was saved when you purchased your concert tickets online. You are just about to click the "Buy" button when you notice there is a search function just below that. You've been wanting to find a copy of an out of production CD and type in the title in the search box and click "Search".

The results come back from the entire music collection of this record label to announce that you can purchase that CD online now and pick it up at your local record store tomorrow! You click the checkbox to order that title and see that you can buy your concert memorabilia now and wear that sweatshirt to the concert by picking it up at the same record store. What the heck. You click the "Buy" button just as your spouse emerges from the bathroom with her toothbrush working.

The Boss' voice says "Thanks for your order Mike and I'll see you Thursday night at eight." Now you have to explain how you spent $83 before breakfast and scroll back up to the top of the email to click "Play" again to demonstrate the process to her and see the toothbrush motion freeze when Bruce Sprinsteen uses your name during the video.




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Don't be surprised if you get an email like this within the coming weeks. Personalization, music, video, catalogs localization and overnight delivery for products in your own interest areas will be the norm within the year as advertisers, marketing companies and business begin using the latest available technology for email. (If you allow it and privacy concerns are addressed sufficiently by businesses adopting the available tools.)

The above technology was highlighted last week at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle by businesses demonstrating at the Direct Marketing Association show titled "net.Marketing 2001". The DMA show was halted early by an 11am earthquake that rattled the downtown area and shook us all up more than the new technology did. Rock and roll took on a different meaning than that provided by the Boss.

But we all emerged unscathed by the rumbling of nature to contemplate ways to harness the latest in compression and embedded rich media in email. Privacy concerns will clearly be the biggest hump to dump if companies expect to use these tools effectively while addressing consumer worries and finding ways to adequately protect sensitive information from third parties.

Here's an email from Ed McMahon and Publishers Clearing House! How long will it take me to get used to celebrities addressing me by my own name and playing my favorite music as background to those personalized videos?



Article by Mike Banks Valentine

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