May 2, 2002, 12:00 AM

Consumers will provide e-mail addresses for a chance to win, Dial learns

Dial has collected e-mail addresses of 234,000 customers who bought its Purex product with a URL where they could enter a contest and sign up for an e-mail newsletter.


Retailers for some time have been collecting customers’ e-mail addresses at the point of sale so they can start e-mailing marketing material. But it’s been tougher for consumer packaged goods manufacturers to start that direct relationship.

Now Dial Corp., which manufactures soaps and cleansers, has found a way. In a campaign managed by Cambridge, MA-based EchoMail Inc., Dial has collected e-mail addresses of 234,000 customers of its Purex product. Each bottle of Purex has a sticker with a code that consumers can peel off. They enter the code into the Dial web site to see if they’ve won a prize, such as a Chevy Tahoe. Then Dial asks them to fill out a survey on laundry habits and sign up for an e-mail list. Dial expects to use the list of consumers to get feedback on new products as well as to run promotions.

So far, 78% of customers who bought Purex laundry detergent with stickers in the last three months at major supermarkets nationwide have responded. The campaign will run for three more months. "We’re helping Dial build a direct relationship with its customers," says EchoMail Chairman and CEO V.A. Shiva.

Shiva, an early pioneer of e-mail technology and analytics, says providing inbound and outbound e-mail dialog is the key to getting useful marketing information. "E-mail marketing is an oxymoron," says Shiva. "E-mail is a medium for conversation, not just one-way marketing." EchoMail has 200 clients, 30% of which are retailers, the company says.


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