Imc2 Plants Flag in RSS Space

Interactive agency imc2 is trying to take the early lead in the emerging RSS space, betting that the channel will become an important means for marketers to connect with consumers.

The agency, whose clients include Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Blockbuster, has officially established an RSS practice called Dispatch, after experimenting with the technology for around seven months. So far, no clients are willing to publicly admit they’re working with the new channel.

“Our clients are always looking for innovative ways of being tuned to their consumers’ needs,” Marc Blumberg, senior VP at imc2, told ClickZ News. “RSS provides a route to being able to market to those audiences directly, using RSS as a service offering rather than email.”

Blumberg believes consumers wary of spam are increasingly hesitant to subscribe to email newsletters, and he expects them to turn to RSS in greater numbers as they learn about the delivery method.

“The concern that we’ve heard from marketers is that they’ve spent so many years building their email databases, that they don’t necessarily want to give people an alternative,” said Blumberg. “Our point is that they’re missing out on a different audience who are reluctant to give up their email addresses.”

To prepare its clients, the agency is offering them an RSS publishing platform that integrates with their existing email publishing systems. Imc2 will also consult with them on RSS strategy. Additionally, the company has developed a private label RSS aggregator, which clients can stamp with their own brand and provide to consumers.

“For first-to-market marketers, they can own the desktop when it comes to having a branded RSS reader that the user installs,” said Blumberg.

Those branded RSS readers can be updated dynamically with a client’s content, so new feed launches could be automatically added to a consumer’s desktop.

The readers also allow imc2 to collect detailed metrics on readership of the feeds. Though Blumberg wouldn’t reveal the company’s methodology, he says the combination of the feed production system and the reader technology allow imc2 to gather as much information about RSS as they do about email. That means they can track subscribers, how many people receive subscriptions, how many people open the content, and how many people click on entries.

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