Former Abacus Exec Replaces Wunderman at I-Behavior

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I-Behavior's new CEO, Christopher Dice, has ideas to continue the growth of the cooperative database company, but he told DM News that it's premature to talk about them. Still, the former Abacus Direct president/chief operating officer was emphatic about the potential of multichannel marketing.


"I believe that there is a much higher acceptance today of multichannel marketing," said Dice, who replaced outgoing CEO Lynn Wunderman last week. "I am a personal firm believer that true, effective, targeted marketing based on what the consumer wants to see from a marketer is in its infancy, and we're just scratching the surface."


Wunderman, who will continue as a consultant and major shareholder in the company she founded in late 2000, was unavailable for comment.


Dice joined Abacus Direct, Broomfield, CO, in 1998 and left the company in late 2000, about a year after it was sold to DoubleClick Inc. He said I-Behavior's board members, including Wunderman, approached him about the position.


"I sat down with Lynn on day one of the interview process," Dice said. "She's been more than welcoming."


I-Behavior's database now has more than 1,200 participants. Dice said the Harrison, NY, company remains healthy and is ready to go to the next level.


"Lynn … managed it very effectively for the last six years and grew it to a very strong level of sales," he said. "The growth has been excellent in 2005."


Dice said no other staff changes are anticipated.


Unlike the Abacus co-op, which was acquired and taken private this year, the I-Behavior co-op collects client data down to the SKU level.


"I-Behavior was first to market at going to SKU-level data," Dice said. "I think there were some questions five years ago about whether it does any good to have item-level data, and I think we've proven out that it does."


With six cooperative databases at last count, Dice said he isn't sure how many is too many for the market but that he welcomes the competition and is confident about I-Behavior's position.


"As more and more copycats come to the market, I think the early adopters have a significant advantage," he said. "That said, for our customers and the marketplace competition is good. I wouldn't ever underestimate a new entrant."


Even so, Dice thinks he may have insight into his competition.


"I know about all my competitors because many of their employees used to work for me," he said.


Aside from I-Behavior and Abacus, the co-ops are Experian's Z-24 and CircBase, Prefer Network, NextAction and Wiland Direct.


Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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