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Begin to treat customer information as an important company asset and to invest in its development.

Look for ways to capture information from every one of your company's points of contact with customers. This could not only include collecting scanner data, but also information that can be gathered from calls to your customer service, billing/accounting, logistics and fulfillment operations.

Begin to use detailed information about your customers to design marketing programs that are tailored to specific customers rather than simply aiming your marketing programs at a "typical" or "average" customer.

Look for opportunities to engage in joint information-driven marketing efforts with other organizations. This could include not only working with your channel partners, but also with other companies that are interested in reaching customers similar to yours.

Develop tools that enable you to calculate the value of your customers and the return on investment of your marketing activities.

Work with the head of your management information service operations to develop information systems that can provide quick access to marketing information to everyone who needs it when they need it.

Take steps to align company compensation policies with the goals of the information-driven marketing efforts. Make sure, for example, that your efforts to move to an ROI-oriented marketing focus are not undermined by sales force compensation programs that reward sales tonnage rather than profitability.

Create a plan that will guide the evolution of your company into an information-driven marketing organization. This is crucial because the transition is likely to be lengthy and complex; without a plan that can serve as a guide, the efforts may very well fail.

Rather than let technological or production capabilities drive your new-product development efforts, look for new products and services that can build on the affinity that you have created with your customer base. Search for opportunities to serve your customers by providing outsourced products or services from third parties.

Make sure to have top management commitment behind your information-driven marketing efforts and have them help align every part of the company-including billing, customer service, logistics-with the marketing strategy.

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