John Miglautsch

By Hallie Mummert Data mining initiatives are all the rage these days, especially modeling and clustering. These analytical processes can provide tremendous insight into which customers are most/least profitable and how to identify others like them; which products sell best; and which channels deliver a strong return on investment. That is, they can if your database is clean enough, complete enough, and updated enough to give you reliable information. According to a white paper titled "Data Quality: A Problem and an Approach" by Javed Beg and Shadab Hussain of data warehousing firm Wipro Technologies, on average, 15 percent of the data in a U.S.

By Hallie Mummert World-class direct marketing doesn't happen by accident or overnight. Companies known for their excellence in one area of business—think L.L. Bean and customer service, Amazon.com and ease of use, The Sharper Image and merchandising strategy—spend years and buckets of money developing processes and technologies to advance their performance levels. Of course, a large company can afford the investment high-level operations require. While medium- and small-size companies don't have deep enough pockets to compete with large companies inch for inch, they are not barred from tailoring best practices to fit the size and scope of

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