Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

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

Disney’s slogan for its parks, “where dreams come true,” became a nightmare on Wednesday with this headline: “Missing 2-year-old Boy Snatched by Alligator in Disney World Found Dead.” What can Disney’s marketers tell scared parents reading headlines like this one in the New York Daily News?

A recent Infogroup study found that of the marketers surveyed, 47 percent are already seeing ROI on expenditures related to data technology. Data can always help improve targeting and messaging, but in some instances, it can help fuel creativity.

With towers of shipping containers squeezed up against a back wall, Omaha's eCreamery Ice Cream & Gelato has the best kind of business problem: The store's personalized ice cream gifts have proven to be so popular that eCreamery has outgrown its production and shipping space. In-store sales at the parlor in downtown Dundee now account for only 40 percent of the business's annual revenue. A growing majority of sales happen online, where eCreamery is riding trends in food gifts, personalized gifts and online shopping. A solution could already be at hand. In June, eCreamery owners Becky App, 36, and

Infogroup, the Omaha-based marketing and business research firm, is in final negotiations to be acquired by CCMP Capital Advisors, a prominent New York equity firm. Sources close to the negotiations said CCMP submitted the top bid of about $494.7 million, or $8.60 per share. The final offer was lower than what Infogroup officials expected, the sources said.

Inventory management has come a long way since companies simply sent an employee into the warehouse with a clipboard and a pen. While some businesses still operate with offline inventory management systems, which now can be quite complex, many have opted for the dynamism of Web-based applications.

Michael Moore made a splash with his documentary, “Sicko,” about the disarray of the American health care system. Three weeks ago, an American woman executive in her early sixties—let’s call her Joyce—needed to see a doctor fairly late at night in the little town of Füssen, Germany. My wife, Peggy, and I went with her to the emergency room of the local hospital. It turned out that earlier in the year, Joyce had the very same symptoms during a business trip to the Midwest and went to the emergency room of one of the biggest hospitals in Omaha. The comparison of how Joyce

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