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Email Returns To Power

By: David Utter

Technology giants like Cisco and IBM believe the key to effective marketing can be found in the eyes of the target audience, literally, and have enlisted a software company called Eyetools to help.

Email Returns To PowerIt's not how the customer looks, but where he looks, the Wall Street Journal informs us. The process is called heatmapping.

Eyetools arose in 2000 out of the Stanford University Advanced Eye Interpretation Project. The technology received a workout during the Stanford-Poynter Project, which studied the effectiveness of news sites.

By tracking a user's eye movement with the help of a camera and a computer, the project could tell what parts of a page received the viewer's attention, and which ones did now. It's no coincidence the New York Times, the new Yahoo homepage, the Washington Post, and CNN all have rich media ads on the right side of the page above the fold. Print catalog professionals have known for years people look at the top right of a page first.

Eyetools has managed to apply its technology to email, and demonstrate just how tech powerhouses like IBM (IBM) and Cisco (CSCO) can make their campaigns more effective when they land in inboxes.

The Journal noted how OgilvyOne, part of Martin Sorrell's WPP Group (WPPGY), worked with IBM and Cisco to integrate Eyetools into their email efforts. In IBM's case, replacing text links of website addresses with graphical icons and buttons pumped up click-through rates (CTR) by 60 percent.

Meanwhile, a Cisco manager cited in the Journal report said the networking company would have a "stronger use of imagery at the end of the newsletter so eyes scroll to the bottom" of an email.

Years of spam increases and filtering techniques of wildly varying effectiveness had combined to reduce the effectiveness of email marketing. Many firms in the industry have consolidated, while others have changed course to remain a relevant option within particular niches.

More sophisticated technologies have helped companies personalize their email campaigns and target them better. Combining personalization with a better use of placement in an email could help email marketing, and email marketers, become even more effective.


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