Thirty years ago, direct marketing was typically confined to catalog shopping. However, over the years, the development of ZIP codes, geodemographic systems such as PRIZM, large databases for third-party appends, software for analysis of customer files and other advancements have made direct marketing a formidable competitor to market research.

Market researchers, for the most part, misunderstand direct marketing. Market researchers are accustomed to small samples. In market research terms, a sample of 1,000 respondents is substantial. On the other hand, direct marketers have easy access to 100,000 people in one of their analyses. Of course, direct marketers usually have limited variables, whereas market researchers have a broad range of variables to analyze.

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