Microsoft Taps StormPost for E-Mail Marketing

Microsoft’s leadership role in e-mail authentication and Sender ID make its selection of an ESP both a compliment and a challenge. Performance-based marketing solutions provider Datran Media has stepped up to that challenge; Microsoft has selected the firm’s StormPost e-mail solution for e-mail newsletters, newsletter ad management and marketing communications worldwide.

The e-mail platform offers an ad management solution for e-mail insertions, much like Web advertising’s DART or Atlas systems. Inventory management allows the ad sales team to track and target campaigns.

“The recalculating of available inventory is a critical component to allow advertisers to buy like they do search and display,” said Joshua Baer, CTO at Datran. “Advertisers are targeting audiences. In the old days before inventory management, you needed to target at a list level.”

In May 2007 Microsoft began a rollout process of the StormPost platform with offer-based e-mails under its MSN Featured Offers and Web Courier brands, as well as editorial content from the MSN Network.

“The goal of the new platform is to drive delivery of relevant content, relevant advertisements, and in general, improve the overall user experience,” said Erik Zigman, general manager of adCenter Analytics and Direct Marketing at Microsoft. “The new capabilities of the platform allow us to increase this value to the users, and as the rollout of markets occurs we expect to see the benefit in user engagement with our products.”

E-mail inventory will integrate with Microsoft’s global ad sales team. “Ad sales for the platform align to the ad sales function for display inventory on the MSN Network,” Zigman said.

StormPost’s ability to provide an ad management layer hasn’t been widely available. “It’s new, but at the same time it builds on the same types of things we’ve been doing for years,” said Keiser. The offering integrates services from other Datran brands such as CPA exchange EO.com.

Microsoft will license StormPost as a hosted software, though it is also available as an ASP. StormPost will be implemented across Microsoft’s global sales and e-mail teams. “The project we are working on is being built out for worldwide deployment. It’s an internal solution they are able to scale,” said Keiser. Microsoft and Datran worked in collaboration to create a .NET application for StormPost.

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