Database marketing has emerged as one of the primary reasons for building a data warehouse. But, too often the people asked to build these systems--if not the prospective users themselves--lack a firm understanding of exactly what they are expected to accomplish. This, of course, is a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

It doesn't have to be this way. Database marketing is a well-established industry with roots stretching back thirty years. An entire infrastructure exists of service and software vendors, consultants, conferences, publications and associations. In fact, the very depth of the industry's heritage poses a challenge: because so many people have been doing database marketing for so long, many different applications have evolved within the general category. This means that even industry veterans must listen carefully to understand what someone means when they say they want a "database marketing system."

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