*DM to Lead Data Technology Charge, DMDNY Speaker Says

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NEW YORK -- As the business world moves increasingly toward data collection and personalized goods and services, the head of a San Francisco-based technology forecasting firm yesterday called on direct marketers to take a leading role in that transformation.

"We are heading for a huge explosion of data, and we need leaders to help us analyze this data," James Canton, president of the Institute for Global Futures, said at the opening luncheon of the DM Days New York conference. Direct marketers, who already understand the convergence of people and data, stand poised to become those "gateway leaders," he said.

"You can put together markets that don't yet exist for products that have not been built," Canton said. "Direct marketing is being propelled by the future of e-business." He said the time will soon come when a company will go to a direct marketing firm and ask for the e-mail addresses of every U.S. architect to help determine their interest in a construction product that has not been designed yet.

"Are you ready to meet that challenge? That's the question," he said. Canton advocated the importance of developing e-direct marketing strategies to prepare for the future. He defined e-direct marketing as real-time, one-to-one consumer intelligence platforms and online deep personalization.

The emergence of e-businesses is causing four major power shifts of which marketers need to be aware, Canton said: from physical power to virtual, from seller to buyer, from mass to personalized, and from human to machine.

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