Data Security

Privacy Under Scrutiny
June 1, 2003

Consumers are nervous about how much of their information is readily available to anyone who knows how to access it. We’re not talking just about identity theft, which is a criminal offense, but about legal marketing practices. Indeed, consumers are being deluged with direct marketing offers pitched at them by mail, e-mail and telephone. Think about it from their viewpoint. While you think you’re helping consumers by making just-in-time offers to satisfy their needs and desires, they’re thinking: “Whoa! Can we get a little privacy over here?” Just how much do consumers care about this issue? A lot. For example, 69 percent

Should You Rent Out Your Customer List?
March 1, 2003

About 10 percent of all consumer catalogers and an estimated 25 percent of business-to-business catalogers don’t rent or exchange names with any outside companies, according to a leading list-management company. This month I’ll discuss the different aspects of putting your No. 1 company asset — your customer list — on the rental market. Caveat: I believe it’s healthy and necessary for a catalog company to rent and exchange names with others — providing the proper controls that govern the use or unauthorized use of the names are in place. Consumer catalogers that don’t rent their lists often rationalize this practice

Playing by the Rules
January 1, 2000

CALIFORNIA LAW recently defined three types of acceptable e-mail use. Companies can send e-mail to: 1. Consumers provided that the marketer identifies the message as commercial e-mail by beginning the subject line with “ADV.” 2. Consumers who have given permission via an opt-in. 3. Consumers with whom they have a prior business relationship. While these rules aren’t overly restrictive, similar legislation is coming down the pike nationally, and companies that choose to prospect or communicate with existing customers should be prepared to comply, now. Which of these three methods should they use? It depends on the goal of the campaign, but mostly success relies

Personalized Web Merchandising
October 1, 1999

Instead of just repurposing copy and images, rethink your Web catalog for more effective merchandising Personalization and variable data printing are making their marks on the print catalog world, but the place where customized merchandising techniques are likely to shine is the Web. While a print catalog is static, a Web catalog is dynamic and can be generated in order to meet the needs of the customer at hand. Explains Vahe Katros, director of retail applications at Blue Martini, a San Mateo, CA-based company that creates Web merchandising software: There’s two issues to versioning catalogs: how many different merchandise assortments you can