*Polk Unveils Telecommunications Data Clusters

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ORLANDO, FL--The Polk Co. unveiled at the NCDM conference here yesterday a new data clustering system designed to aid telecommunications companies in their marketing and customer retention efforts.

Using data obtained from a customized version of its monthly Survey America mailer, Polk, Southfield, MI, created TeleClusters, a system of 23 unique groupings based on more than 25 different telephone-related behaviors.

"[Teleservices companies] had a need that we weren't meeting," said Kurt S. Besch, director of market development for Polk. "We saw a need for some additional products out there."

TeleClusters is based on about 40,000 responses from a survey Polk sent out last spring containing detailed questions about use of various teleservices products, such as cellular phones, voice mail, pagers and Internet access and other questions. The results were married with lifestyle data that gives telecommunications marketers a more holistic view of their prospects than they traditionally have, according to Besch.

For example, the cluster called "Wired Family" is characterized by having a high income, with teens in the house, multiple phone lines, high use of cellular phones, Internet connectivity, calling card use, pager use and significant expenditures on long-distance service. Other clusters include young people with heavy pager use and affluent singles with heavy cellular phone use.

Although Polk traditionally gathers a limited amount of telecommunications usage data through its monthly surveys, this marks the first time it has conduced a survey exclusively for that industry, according to Besch.

Besch said Polk has talked with several telecommunications services about putting the product into test. He also said it would be priced aggressively to gain market penetration quickly, although the price structure was not immediately available.

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