NZ Post’s buy-up of a 20% share of email marketing company MessageMedia NZ will offer considerable commercial opportunity to on-sell its services through Post’s Datamail and Kiwi Mail subsidiaries, says eVentures head Cindy Mitchener.
EVentures is the majority owner of MessageMedia NZ. Prior to the Post interest, it owned 72.5%, with the US MessageMedia parent owning the rest. NZ Post’s shareholding dilutes that of the two partners equally, says Mitchener.
MessageMedia specialises in “permission-based” email marketing, where a company encourages prospective customers through a Web site or other medium, to submit their email addresses to receive further marketing messages.
Eventures’ interest in MessageMedia is “just a beginning” in the area of digitally assisted marketing, Mitchener says. “We are looking at a suite of products in areas like customer relationship management, inbound [email] management and analysis.” These will be provided in association with unnamed prospective “international companies”.
Such arrangements might involve shareholding redistribution, she says. “Arrangements will be individual [to each partnership]. We have no standard model.”
Email marketing is “a white space” in New Zealand, she says. It’s an area with great potential “but there’s been nobody there. We have the expertise to do it.” Despite this claim, Email Impact in June launched a campaign to seek out organisations willing to join its "opt-in" email advertising schemes. The marketing company also offered anti-spam software on its Web site (www.optinnz.com).
Email marketing is equally applicable to e-commerce companies and bricks-and-mortar companies, Mitchener says. “You don’t have to be in e-commerce to use email.”
Regarding the NZ Post involvement, “it's extremely pleasing to be associated with a company with such a strong brand, which New Zealanders know and have confidence in," Mitchener says.
NZ Post Enterprises chief executive John Allen says the association strengthens Post’s ability to provide electronic solutions for its customers at a time when a large number of them are moving to electronic means of transacting business rather than using paper. The MessageMedia shareholding follows for examples, the eBill joint venture with US-based CheckFree, and Post's acquisition of 50% of Electronic Commerce Network.
There will doubtless be similar ventures in the future in other areas of e-business, he says.