Last year's headline: Tridel leverages Web-contest data...

Last year’s headline: Tridel leverages Web-contest data

Synopsis: Toronto-based real estate developer Tridel Corporation launches a permission-based e-mail marketing campaign using information gathered via an online contest developed and managed by Net Results Internet Advertising (now The Toronto-based real estate developer hooks up with the Bank of Montreal for ICAN@TheIcon, a promotion that enables participants to buy a condo in Tridel’s trendy Icon building with only $1,000 down. Thanks to customer data collected during the initial contest, which offered a chance to win a $160,000 condo, 25,000 consumers visit the company’s Web site to fill out a survey. The information gleaned allows Tridel to approach the bank with a low-down-payment deal. In one month, over $10 million of real estate is sold, and 25% of sales across all of Tridel’s developments come through the Internet.

One year later: Tridel not only enjoyed record sales for the Icon, the buzz also resulted in unit sales at several other locations, says Roman Bodnarchuk, CEO of Encouraged by the response, Tridel bought the property next to the Icon, where it will build Icon 2. While the real estate developer normally spends about $500,000 on marketing each time it launches a project, Net Results suggested sending an e-mail to the original database of 8,000 people first. ‘We offered them a weekend preview and sold 50 units in two days,’ reports Bodnarchuk. ‘The average purchase price was in excess of $200,000. It’s a strong testament to e-mail and permission-based marketing.’

Bodnarchuk says the initial campaign was a hit in part because the Web site,, was ‘unuser’-friendly. ‘We were looking for serious people who wanted to live at the Icon, so we created a Web site where people interacted with the brand for 22 minutes, and told us all about themselves voluntarily,’ he explains. ‘Then we sent very targeted and specific e-mails.’ Tridel and Net Results are currently developing a 12-month e-mail strategy and other promotions to help build customer loyalty, says Bodnarchuk. Although he declined to give details, he says the campaign will launch in a few months.

Last year’s headline: Frequent flyer plans on autopilot

Synopsis: After its takeover of Canadian Airlines, Air Canada decides that merging the airlines’ respective frequent flyer programs – Canadian Plus and Aeroplan – isn’t an immediate priority. Rather, Air Canada decides it must focus on more pressing issues, such as how to manage excess route capacity and streamline operations at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. According to Air Canada spokesperson Laura Cook, the company will eventually consider merging the two plans. In the meantime, members can earn miles on either airline and will soon be able to redeem points on either carrier.

One year later: Canadian Plus is merged with Aeroplan on Jan. 1, although its members have been able to redeem points on Air Canada flights since last spring.

This month, Aeroplan announced a partnership with Burnaby, B.C.-based Future Shop. Members can now earn one point for every dollar spent at the electronics retail chain. To introduce the new alliance, consumers are being offered a bonus of 1,000 miles for any purchases over $250 between Feb. 19 and April 30.

In the past, Aeroplan affiliates were travel-related, but research suggested it was time to broaden the base, according to Marc Trudeau, vice-president of marketing and corporate communications at Aeroplan. ‘Customers told us, ‘if you could complement your sources of accumulation with new sectors, I would gladly participate in that,” he says. ‘We are also looking at other retail partners.’

Trudeau says Air Canada is considering the creation of a separate Aeroplan company. While nothing has been approved at this stage, a decision on the matter is expected by year’s end.

Last year’s headline: OJC exercises horse sense

Synopsis: The Ontario Jockey Club tries to lure bettors back to the races with a direct mail campaign. A postcard, which reads ‘There’s money in your account,’ is sent to 1,500 consumers whose HorsePlayer Interactive accounts haven’t been used for at least six months. (HorsePlayer Interactive allows bettors to wager on all live and simulcast races via telephone.) The DM piece directs recipients to their profiles on the site, at www, where, in return for a $2 credit, they’re asked to complete a survey meant to determine why they stopped using HorsePlayer. Two weeks after the initial mailing, OJC sends out a second postcard, reading ‘There’s money in your account. Why haven’t you called?’, to those who haven’t responded. The campaign garners a 23% response rate after phase one and 32% after phase two.

One year later: HorsePlayer Interactive now boasts more than 10,000 members, which has forced the OJC to double the capacity on its phone lines, according to Aimee Cook, marketing manager of HorsePlayer Interactive and HorsePlayer Rewards. Through arrangements with tracks across Canada, OJC has also expanded HorsePlayer Interactive into most of Ontario, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Alberta and is looking to the Western Provinces as its next conquest.

‘We’ve expanded into the homes of our customers and have seen positive results in customer satisfaction and data building,’ says Cook, who adds the OJC plans to introduce Internet wagering later this year. (While the Canadian Criminal Code stipulates that citizens can gamble only by telephone, new technology adopted by OJC is able to convert the online wager into a digital signal that automatically calls the company’s phone system to place the bet.)

Meanwhile, a new rewards program has helped OJC boost its business by 3,700 new accounts. Participants are informed via direct mail how close they are to winning a prize, and OJC throws in bonus points to help them get there. Giveaways include everything from cash to Bell ExpressVu Systems and 53-inch Sony TVs.