INFO-DRIVEN REVOLUTION

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The whole marketing world may not be watching yet, but information-driven marketing has come of age, both technologically and conceptually.

It's a multifaceted electronic revolution that has spawned a myriad of initiatives and is arming marketers with more information about their customers, individually and in the aggregate, than most product purveyors could have imagined even as recently as a few years ago.

In the consumer package-goods arena, the high-profile Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) efforts are transforming the grocery marketplace, with everybody in that realm scrambling to respond to the new challenges. But as our four-part series on "Info-driven Marketing" that concludes in this issue convincingly documents, the information-driven marketing revolution goes far beyond the supermarket shelf. For example, in addition to ECR-related initiatives, companies like Kraft, Ralston Purina and Procter & Gamble also are rapidly launching numerous database marketing efforts that put them in more direct interaction with their customers.

There are also numerous examples outside the package-goods sector. Progressive Insurance has mined computer databases to gain insights that help it effectively sort out good-risk motorcyclists from the hogs-and-leather pack. At the American Express credit card operations, several new supercomputers and high tech programs are being used to quickly marshal extremely detailed information about AmEx customers and to offer airline, restaurant and retail marketers unprecedented opportunities to target specific AmEx customers.

And so on and so on. Beyond our four-part series, we will regularly and extensively cover the rapidly unfolding developments in this exciting realm. Look for the "Info-driven Marketing" logo.

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