Montvale, NJ (January 17, 2003) -- The right email list, proper messaging, and a bit of creative thinking turned a holiday greeting into a highly effective branding and awareness tool for the Institute of Management Accountants.

The IMA in December sent a text e-mail holiday greeting to over 44,000 of its members. The e-mail contained a link to a Webs ite with a Flash-animated snow globe that contained holiday messaging as well as the IMA logo (http://g-0.net/ima/newcard.asp). Users were also prompted to make their own globes and pass them on to friends and colleagues. Nearly one-third of those that received the e-mail went to the link. Within the first 24 hours after the e-mail was sent out, 4,000 IMA members forwarded the link. All told, IMA members spread this message to 7,335 friends and business associates.

"Our main goal is to establish IMA as the premiere resource for management accountants, drive up our membership, our awareness, and build an e-centric environment," said Deborah Munies, director of marketing at IMA. "We are delivering a lot of messaging through email and this holiday e-card was the perfect, viral way to achieve our goal."

Munies also noted that she did not expect the viral response from the card, but it was an added bonus. "I think a lot of the success of this effort was due to our (e-mail) list; our members know us; it wasn’t a blind list," Munies said. "This effort really shows that viral marketing works and it is something for others to consider." Munies declined to discuss the cost of the campaign but said she was pleased with the overall return on the IMA’s investment.

John Flores, VP of interactive at GraficáInteractive, the agency that designed the program and animation for the IMA holiday card, said a marketing effort of this nature does not have to cost a lot. "You could go out with something like this for under $10,000 starting with a simple text email," he said. "There is no reason a smaller firm or company can’t reach out with this kind of sophistication. Doing something via e-mail or the Web versus direct mail can give you a good edge."

The IMA is a professional organization devoted exclusively to management accounting and financial management. It has 67,000 members, including 265 national and international chapters. More information about the IMA can be found at www.imanet.org.

-- Seth Fineberg

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