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Pass It On: Viral Marketing E-Mail Tools

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If you want to deliver an interactive e-mail promotion to your customers so engaging that they forward it on to their friends, you’ll appreciate the services provided by the multimedia e-mail companies described in this article. Viral marketing, as it’s called, has the potential for distributing your message to an audience far beyond the one you originally envisioned.
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A new crop of e-mail distribution tools is leveraging the tried-and-true strategy known as viral marketing—an online version of spreading on information by word-of-mouth. These tools are designed to deliver continually updating multimedia content to users with nearly any type of Web browser without requiring an additional plug-in, even to those with dial-up connections.

The standard for providing compelling content is much higher for rich media e-mail than for its text-based cousin. The format has a ready appeal for entertainment companies and media outlets, who can provide continually updating data streams with sports scores, news headlines, lists of best-selling songs, or celebrity trivia.

Table 1 compares the offerings presented by some current players in the interactive e-mail marketing arena. A more detailed view of each company follows.

Table 1 - Comparing Collaborative Messaging Programs




Viewing Requirements

Offline Use


Detailed reporting tools to let marketers track number of views and clicks of each Gizmo, and how viewers respond when notified that an update is available.

Can contain content created in Flash and Shockwave.

No free or demo version is available.

Any Web browser can be used. Gizmoz do not require any plug-in or download.

Because Gizmoz are updated in real time, an online connection is required.

Dynamic Direct

Innovative personalization features, such as embedded audio that "speaks" the recipient's name.

Raises the bar for time and cost investment.

The user's desktop capabilities are detected in order to determine the optimal version to send for the user's e-mail client and connection speed.

Internet connectivity is required to access most content.

TMX Interactive

Extensive reporting capabilities to let marketers track which versions are delivered, as well as how many times the e-mail was accessed and number of clickthroughs.

Raises the bar for time and cost investment.

None—the user's desktop capabilities are detected in order to determine whether the message is delivered as streamed content, an alternate URL, or plain text.

Internet connectivity is required to view most content.


Gizmoz are programs delivered by e-mail or accessible via a Web site, providing customizable multimedia e-cards, interactive games, entertainment news, animated characters, and other promotional attachments. These multimedia collectibles can be downloaded for ongoing reference, posted on personal Web sites, and shared with others—thus broadening their impact through informal viral marketing efforts. Hosted by a central server, Gizmoz technology streams dynamic content in real time.

Recipients of messages containing a Gizmo can pass it on to friends or copy it on to a personal Web site. Marketers can then track the results for these no-plug-in, media-rich tools, thus testing the effectiveness of campaigns and demonstrate an actual return on investment. The generated reports show who viewed which Gizmo and when; whether recipients forwarded a message; and whether they responded to a desired action such as clicking through on a link.

Gizmoz provides authoring tools for companies to design their own creations, as well as its own design services. Because the sender still retains control of the Gizmo's content, it can be updated or changed at any time. Updated Gizmoz change in appearance, letting recipients know that new content is available.

URL: http://www.gizmoz.com/

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