Pointing the Way to Cyber-Success: New Technology Enhances Marketing Via the Internet

By Muhammad, Tariq K. | Black Enterprise, November 1996 | Go to article overview

Pointing the Way to Cyber-Success: New Technology Enhances Marketing Via the Internet


Muhammad, Tariq K., Black Enterprise


For all the Internet's promise as the consummate commercial marketing vehicle many companies are skeptical of their ability to accurately judge the return on their cyberspace investment. And rightly so.

Counting the number of hits, or page views, a site receives provides no information about who has visited it--only that someone has been there. In fact, there is often no way to distinguish whether one hundred people have visited a site or one person, one hundred times. There is virtually no way for companies to find out who's coming to their Web site, why and what they're doing while there--at least, until now.

With its proprietary PassKey technology, PointFolio International Inc. (770-677-5766; www.pointfolio.com) has taken the guesswork out of marketing online. Founded in 1995 by Mitchel Messer and Jeffrey Brathwaite, PointFolio is an Internet marketing firm in Atlanta that helps companies that do business in cyberspace build long-term relationships with their customers.

Marketing is the message, says Messer, PointFolio's managing director. "That's what PointFolio is about, helping companies collect pertinent information from customers that will make it possible to sell more effectively and keep them in for the long haul."

The crux of PointFolio service is the PointFolio PassKey, a 3.5-inch diskette that acts as a personal key to a company's virtual store in cyberspace. The diskette allows customers direct access to a company Web site without typing in an address or URL. Although the consumer is first taken to PointFolio's Web server for the collection of data, this end-user will not recognize where they are. This information is then stored in a database for later customization of the specific end-user's experience.

After the information is gathered on the PointFolio server, the user is taken to the client's actual Web site, where their preferences can be noted. The PointFolio Web server then works with the server on which the client's Web site is stored. Each diskette has a unique ID, allowing it to optimize the end-users' interaction with its knowledge of prior visits, preferences and purchases.

"The PointFolio solution lets companies offer customers direct access to their Web site, traces their 'footsteps' as they move throughout the site--capturing their interests and preferences--and allows one-on-one marketing with customized offers and information to their customers," explains Hank Johnson, PointFolio's senior director. …

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