The Nielsen Company

Privacy Crisis
April 1, 1999

Go back in time to 1994. Privacy was the hot-button topic in the consumer press. From cover stories in Business Week to reports on the nightly news, the media was stirring the pot about Big Brother—particularly with regard to direct marketers’ use of list and database information. We all took a deep breath and waited for the other shoe to drop, and ... nothing happened. The press moved on, the public (mostly) simmered down, and the issue was put on the back burner. Recently, however, two events converged to bring the privacy issue to a boil again: the explosive growth of

Cloning Your Best Customers (1,173 words)
July 1, 1998

by Bob McKim For many years, companies like Claritas, MicroVision, Trans Union and the Polk Company have offered cluster systems, which define customer populations by demographically-defined lifestyle or lifestage descriptions. Developed using statistical analysis of census data and other sources, these systems became quickly popular and widespread in marketing research circles. Terms such as "dinks," "yuppies" and "empty-nesters" became popular marketing lingo. The problem with this method of characterizing a customer base is it ignores the fact that households are not cliches but have their own individual lifestyles. This ZIP+4 clustering, while interesting, does not allow for individual distinctions and therefore households can