When I began my career as a marketing professional, e-mail was a rare privilege. There were four major forms of marketing communication: in-person, phone, fax, and postal mail. Everything that we needed to know about the customer we learned from talking to the customer, research surveys or from transaction records, laboriously collected, and sometimes painstakingly supplemented. There was no online behavioral data to analyze, no web logs, or click-through rates.

I remember, not too long ago, going through hard copies of printouts with a yellow highlighter to pick out the industries which were most likely to yield increased sales in terms of vertical marketing specialization (a technique which worked, by the way). I was somewhat unique ...

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