Omaha, Neb.

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Product/Service: Sapphire Web Optimizer, a tool that leverages Infogroup's Sapphire database to deliver leads on a cost-per-lead basis. What it Does: "The Sapphire database is a multi-source B-to-B file containing almost 60 million decision-makers. ... The Web Optimizer then tracks Web behavior and feeds prospects from this pool as interest in the marketer's products or services are observed."

When J.J. Simon and B.A. Simon established a local butcher shop in Omaha in 1917, there were no Groupon deals or Facebook retail stores to work into their marketing strategy. How to keep the meat fresh was the technological challenge of that age. Yet in a way, Omaha Steaks has always been a technology pioneer when it comes to keeping fresh the direct sales business. Omaha Steaks first adopted a process for ordering by mail and then was one of the first companies to have a toll-free number in the 1960s for customers to phone in their orders.

Sure, there are all these nifty tools out there to make life easier, but many companies are still struggling with how to institutionalize change—especially when it comes to integration. Businesses wanting to become the customer-centric ideal need to have communications cross channels, embedded with the data necessary to allow cross-trained personnel to nimbly respond.

After a decade-long acquisitions spree that included Direct Media, Millard Group, Edith Roman Associates, Mokrynski Direct and YesMail, InfoGroup is launching an initiative to turn what CEO Bill Fairfield describes as a "loose confederation of 31 business units" that "caused operational inefficiencies and confusion in the marketplace" into a more unified portfolio of data-driven products and services under the InfoGroup brand umbrella.

To stand out among the myriad of mail prospects receive every day, direct mailers need to touch a compelling nerve for each recipient. What better way than to get personal? Obviously, getting too personal can be downright dangerous. Prospects may get a little nervous if they feel a company knows too much. But everyone likes to be approached personally, instead of with a sales pitch. With that in mind, Omaha, Neb.–based manufacturer, marketer and distributor of premium steaks, red meats and gourmet foods Omaha Steaks recently sent out a package with a more personalized feel than its standard control (Archive code #355-171626-0801C). Traditionally, Omaha

To stand out among the myriad of mail prospects receive every day, direct mailers need to touch a compelling nerve for each recipient. What better way than to get personal? Obviously, getting too personal can be downright dangerous. Prospects may get a little nervous if they feel a company knows too much. But everyone likes to be approached personally, instead of with a sales pitch. With that in mind, Omaha, Neb.–based manufacturer, marketer and distributor of premium steaks, red meats and gourmet foods Omaha Steaks recently sent out a package with a more personalized feel than its standard control (Archive code #355-171626-0801C). Traditionally, Omaha

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