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By Jay Goth

There is a gold rush on right now, and the companies that lead the race will be the huge winners. Savvy companies are building customer and prospect databases that will pay over the long haul.

McDonalds does it. So do Sears, Nabisco, Bank of America, every professional sports franchise, and now your corner restaurant. Do you?

We are talking about building a database of customers and prospects for your business. Like it or not, consumers are changing the way they buy products. More and more of them are doing research before they shop, using the Internet to find out what costs are, available options, rebates, you name it.

Gaining an edge over your competitors is no longer a simple matter of outspending them on advertising. Today’s competitive market rewards the companies who obtain the best value from their advertising campaigns. Simply put, a business must convert more floor traffic into sales.

There is now an economical way to do this, while at the same time building that important database and reaching people who are still doing their online research. Combining the efficiency of the Internet for delivering high-impact email with the power of strategic database marketing yields exceptionally high returns for executives who are willing to accept new market realities.

More consumers have email access than ever before, and that number is growing by the thousands every day. More importantly, surveys have shown that consumers prefer that correspondence from companies be delivered via email versus traditional postal mail or telephone.

At the same time, the number of unsolicited commercial email messages is growing and becoming a controversial legislative item, with federal and state legislatures targeting this type of email marketing for civil and criminal punishment.

So what is a business to do? There are two options: forego email marketing and lose market share and future competitive advantage, or embrace email marketing as a powerful tool and use it appropriately.

Those who choose to gain the advantage and begin marketing via the Internet must assemble their own proprietary database of interested consumers. This eliminates any potential “spam” problems and generates a significant marketing asset.


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