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Handbook of Research in International Marketing

Edited by Subhash C. Jain

Presenting the challenges and opportunities ahead, the contributors to this volume critically examine the current status and future direction of research in international marketing. The result of a sustained and lively dialogue among contributors from a variety of cultures, this volume gathers their perspectives and many insights on the revitalization of the field.
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Chapter 18: Privacy Protection and Global Marketing: Balancing Consumer and Corporate Interests

Ravi Sarathy


Ravi Sarathy INTRODUCTION Successful marketing requires obtaining information about customers. Understanding customer needs, by asking customers, surveying them, making inferences from their behavior, or observing them, are critical precursors to successful development of products and services. Customer information helps tailor products to individual needs, helps qualify prospects, increases the likelihood of enhancing customer satisfaction, and enables better retention of current customers. Growing knowledge about customer needs and satisfaction helps create better new products and services. A clothing manufacturer selling fashionable but perishable styles benefits from knowing which styles, which colors and which sizes are in demand, both at the individual level and in the aggregate. An insurer can leverage existing customers by selling additional services such as travel insurance and long-term care insurance to current term life insurance customers. Real estate agents can gain competitive advantage from knowing when a prospective customer is being transferred, their family size, their school preferences, and the amount of mortgage they pre-qualify for. The advent of location-specific information available from cell-phone users adds another opportunity, as potential customers can receive sales offers beamed to cell-phones from businesses in the vicinity of the customer, and the locations a customer visits can be factored into the algorithms that predict customer needs and behavior. All these examples show the benefits to the well-informed marketer. The benefits and utility of information gathering about customers is magnified as marketing moves to the Internet: both because information gathering is easier, and highly individualized tailored...

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