360works email is $195 for a 10-pack workgroup. I don't consider $19.50/user "big dollars". Even $95/user is cheap when you consider what your time is worth vs. trying to put together a "hack".
Conceptually I've played around with this before, but have always returned to plugins, they just work better and take less time to integrate.
I've tried doing some Send Event and Perform Applescript stuff, but nothing ever worked as good as a plugin.
The defacto article on this was put out by beezwax a while ago:
It covers all the methods very well.