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

Just in time for Valentine's Day,, a startup focused on brides to be, is launching a social channel where couples can digitally organize their wedding keepsakes — chiefly photos — while inspiring the nuptials of others. Called Real Weddings, it will sport 4,800 so-called "wedding blueprint" guides for those about to get hitched. The two-year-old, New York-based company, following the idea that attractive pictures sell clothes online, has forged relationships with Nordstrom, Macy's, J.Crew, Dessy and some 2,500 other retail chains, providing it an e-commerce feed.

Is Touchy-Feely Customer Research the Way to Go? March 23, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 23 IN THE NEWS Best Buy thinks outside the big box In several concept stores located in the Midwest, Best Buy is gathering data about consumer behavior in retail outlets that are quite different from the "big box" stores normally associated with America's largest consumer electronics retailer. The new stores, with names like Eq-life, Studio d and Escape, are helping Best Buy understand how to improve the shopping experience of a new class of technology buyers. —Tom Krazit, C/, March 21, 2006 Brad Anderson is CEO of Best

By Jim Watson Research can offer customer insights and boost Web site success. Ever wonder why the milk is always in the back corner of the grocery store, why Nordstrom always has cosmetics and women's shoes on the first floor, or why McDonald's packaged its menu into value meals? These tactics are the result of years and years of observing consumer behavior and purchase patterns with the single-minded goal of boosting sales and margins. Commerce-based Web sites have been in existence for a decade. Will it take us decades more to reach marketing and merchandising truths in the digital space? Absolutely not. The digital

By Denny Hatch "Nothing is more powerful than good will except ill will." —Anver Souleiman Item: On our way to dinner at Avenue B, a trendy, pricey new saloon on Philadelphia's Broad Street, Peggy and I stopped at the Wilma Theater to see if we could get tickets for "Dirty Blonde," a play about the legendary Mae West, that had gotten very good reviews. Curtain time at the Wilma was 7:30 p.m., so the lobby was empty. We walked up to the box office,

By Bob McKim Everyone is talking these days about how to know their customers better. They want to be like Nordstrom and have a personal relationship with each customer, one customer at a time. In the past, the thought of this would have driven IT professionals mad. Today, while it's still largely a dream, the ability to connect all databases in an enterprise to an organic and intuitive computer armed with the ability to deliver personalized marketing messages to individual customers at the exact right time is becoming more of a reality. Some transitions still need to take place and some

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