Mainstream for Avatars

September 29, 2006

Mainstream for Avatars

Next IT animates Information Delivery and a whole lot more
by Carol Baroudi, Partner

Perhaps next geners are particularly attracted to the US Army’s Sergeant Star because he embodies the in-depth research done to determine what best resonates with the 17 to 24 year olds that targets. But what Sergeant Star is doing for the army is what every ecommerce vendor, customer service department and training organization craves – tangibly increased site-stickiness, a platform for deepening customer relationships, reduced costs for customer support and training. 

In an interview we conducted this week, army staff were very excited by early results. The average user session is four times longer than before the sergeant took over and the total number of entries has increased 15 to 20 %. All in all, site visitors are spending more time with Sergeant Star than they are in live chat at the cyber recruiting center, on average twice as long, which the army views as very positive indeed.

Beyond (the not so simple) Q & A, Sergeant Star acts as a site guide, and the army has plans for integrating the sergeant into a full-blown marketing campaign. Don’t be too surprised to see the sergeant leave the screen and apparate in a mall near you.

And not every avatar has to look like Sergeant Star. Trials are underway with an attractive human model ready to help you pick out just the perfect little black dress and shoes to match from a retailer you know and love. Next IT’s Active Agent software provides the platform to truly bring “buying assistance” to a whole new level.

Hurwitz & Associates believes that we’re just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to leveraging the web by further integrating web-born personalities into mainstream, multi-channel media campaigns. In a world that is becoming more and more virtual it may be time for the virtual to become more real.

Newsletters 2006
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