In the world of marketing systems, no cliché is more popular than "360- degree view of the customer." This refers to assembling a complete set of data from all systems that record customer interactions. The underlying assumption is that this comprehensive picture will allow highly tailored sales and service treatments that ultimately return higher profits.

Of course, reality is a bit more complicated. Not all data is equally valuable nor is it equally accessible. Therefore, determining exactly which data to gather requires balancing business, technical and political factors. The result is something less than a complete view of the customer, although hopefully still broad enough to be useful.

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