Homer Simpson

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.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Lego, the creator of the pain-producing, sharp-cornered blocks, allowed a French ad agency to create ouch-preventing, uber-padded Lego slippers. That closed-circle approach may prompt marketers to think of how their products and services could use their own solutions.

Driven by the need to be more compliant and more efficient, companies are cozying up to their databases like never before. According to a Forrester Research report released mid-2004, spending on data warehousing is expected to see double-digit growth this year. And because a stocked data warehouse is worthless unless you use it to glean business insight, The Data Warehousing Institute predicts a continued demand for data mining tools. If your data interests fit this national—if not global—trend, then this month's cover story, themed "Know Your Customer," can help you get the most out of your quest to better understand your interactions with

By Noelle Skodzinski The Who's Mailing What! Archive recently received, from a local heating-oil company, a mailing that was about as sophisticated as Homer Simpson. Primitive graphics (on a sheet of 20 lb paper) showed a cartoonish image of Saddam Hussein alongside a missile, with the how'd-they-ever-think-of-it messaging: "Don't get bombed by skyrocketing oil prices." It's unlikely this flier-style mailing pulled record response, especially in today's local marketplace, where many businesses are using more advanced direct mail strategies than ever. Several good examples of the improving quality of local efforts we've been seeing arrived in the Archive in December. A 51/2"

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