The Internet has grown and matured to such an extent that most organizations are now compelled to include it in their strategic plans. You can't pick up marketing, sales or technology magazines without seeing at least one article on how to make the most of your Internet exposure to your customers. The Internet has become the most pervasive technology to accelerate your ability to gather information on your customers. What's more, your Web-savvy customers are some of the most demanding and capricious ones yet, causing marketers to reach for antacid on a daily basis.

However, as with most business tools, a Web site's value to an organization is less intrinsic and more a function of how it is used or applied. More than ever, your ability to acquire and retain these shrewd customers now depends on how much you know about them. Increasingly, when customers can get a product from multiple sources, they base their purchase decisions less on the product and more on the personalization of information delivery and content. The more you personalize your product for the Web site visitors and the visits themselves, the more they will expect or demand that treatment next time around.

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