Database News, January 19, 1998

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Paradigm, MapQuest Form Partnership


Paradigm Direct Marketing, Atlanta, announced that its data capturing utility, Target One, will be used to gather consumer-oriented data for two Web sites produced by MapQuest Publishing Group, a business unit of GeoSystems Global Corp.


When individuals visit MoveQuest, a relocation site, and TravelPlan USA, a travel planner, they will see a link offering the option to complete a short questionnaire consisting of move- or travel-related questions. Visitors will be offered a list of categories from which they can request additional information and will be asked whether they would like to receive the information through direct mail or e-mail.


Users will have the opportunity to "opt in" to receive special offers and are not required to fill out any information to access the sites. In addition, they are informed that their answers will be used for marketing purposes if they so choose. MapQuest will not release any user e-mail addresses or mailing addresses, and they will be kept confidential.


The questions are designed with marketers of move- or travel-oriented products and services in mind, and providers of these products and services can sponsor or ask customized questions.


Merkle Acquires Worldwide Direct, Changes Its Name


Merkle Computer Systems Inc. Lanham, MD, a database marketing services company and NCOA licensee, has acquired the assets of Worldwide Direct Inc., Hollywood, FL, a full-service direct mail production services company.


"It is Merkle's goal to be the premier full-service database marketing services company in the mid-Atlantic region," said David S. Williams, Merkle's president and CEO. "In acquiring Worldwide, we have greatly expanded our direct mail production capabilities and are now positioned to offer our clients an even broader range of products and services."


Williams said that as a result of the acquisition, he hopes to mail upward of 500 million pieces of mail per year. Besides its NCOA services, Merkle offers database management, merge/purge, list processing, analytical services and printing services. Currently, Merkle employs more than 650 employees and projects sales of $40 million for 1998.


Worldwide offers printing, mailing and personalization services. Currently, it employs 1,909 employees and reported sales of $6.5 million for 1997.


The merged company is called Merkle Direct Marketing Inc.


Opinion Research Acquires Pro Tel Marketing Inc.


Opinion Research Corp. (ORC), Princeton, NJ, a market research and marketing services company, announced that it has acquired Pro Tel Marketing Inc., Chicago, a teleservices company specializing in the business-to-business and consumer markets.


ORC acquired Pro Tel for $10 million plus certain future payments contingent upon performance of the acquired business. In addition, ORC agreed to issue to the principles of Pro Tel options to purchase an aggregate of 400,000 shares of common stock of OCR.


OCR said the acquisition strengthens its core market research competencies and makes it a more fully integrated marketing services company.


"By combining our core market research capabilities in advanced analytics, information services technology and database modeling with Pro Tel's telemarketing expertise, we enter marketing services with differentiated offerings and also redefine the teleservices playing field," said Michael R. Cooper, chairman and CEO of OCR. "As we begin to cross-sell these complementary services to our existing clients, we expect them to benefit enormously."


Pro Tel, which was founded in 1980, performs outbound and inbound telemarketing nationwide. The company had revenues of $14.3 million last year. The company will be called ORC Pro Tel Inc. and plans to make investments to open additional call centers throughout the United States.


Western Wireless Picks


AnalytiX Software


Customer Insight Company, Englewood, CO, a Metromail company, recently announced the licensing of its AnalytiX System data mart software to Wireless Western Corp., a provider of telecommunications services in the western United States.


Western Wireless will use the data mart solution to augment its current customers management and marketing strategy. For example, the company plans to build a more comprehensive customer database and append external data -- such as demographics, lifestyle and customized research -- to it.


As a stand-alone or client/server database, the AnalytiX system integrates and stores customer data from multiple sources, and provides sophisticated analysis functions to support strategic business decisions.


Applied Information Group


Offers E-Mail Services


Applied Information Group (AIG), Kenilworth, NJ, announced that it will offer full-service e-mail computer services in addition to its traditional list service bureau products and services.


For example, the company will build and maintain e-mail databases, fulfill e-mail files, merge/purge e-mail lists and deliver e-mail messages to e-mail address files. The list service bureau also will fulfill online requests, as well as receive, track and report responses.


Much like traditional mailing list services, AIG will standardize e-mail lists to ensure that all elements of each record are organized properly. AIG's e-mail processing software program looks at each record to verify a user name and a deliverable domain name, and then it matches files to opt-out lists. AIG also can match e-mail lists to postal address files.


"E-marketing will become an essential element of most direct marketing campaigns by the turn of the century," said Mitch Rubin, AIG president. "Providing computer e-mail services is a natural extension of our traditional list service bureau offering."


MSGI, Thinking Machines


Announce Partnership


Marketing Services Group Inc. (MSGI), New York, a database marketing, telemarketing and online consulting company, and Thinking Machines, New York, a data mining software company, announced a strategic partnership that will allow MSGI's 800 North American clients to deliver a sophisticated data mining and warehousing solution.


The agreement essentially will allow MSGI to use Thinking Machine's Darwin data mining software as part of the database marketing services it offers to its customers.


According to Thinking Machines, Darwin will give MSGI's customers the ability to predict, with much greater precision, which prospects are more likely to respond to offers for credit cards, home-equity lines of credit, magazine subscriptions, theater tickets, and other products and services, and when they are most likely to respond.
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