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Customer Relations for the New York Times

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(1.) Here is an interesting article from the NY Times about some over-zealous
data mining. Based on what you've learned from the Background of this module,
please comment. Your response will be evaluated based on how well you
integrate material from any part of the Background. I recommend looking at the
last sections of the Background: Institutional Resources and Data Mining.

Here is a summary of the article. As of today it's still available and free. Let me know ASAP if that changes! http://pharmdata.notlong.com

The title is Doctors Object to Drug Data Gathering by Stephanie Saul, NY Times, May 4, 2006.
But feel free to substitute any other article (or your own experience) of over-zealous data mining -- using data that perhaps should be off limits.

Premise: Computerized records showing which doctors prescribed which drugs can be very helpful to a pharmaceutical sales rep - but should they be made available to the pharmaceutical companies? Doctors and public officials claim this data mining is intrusive to both doctors and patients. States such as New Hampshire, Arizona and West Virginia have introduced bills prohibiting this practice.

(2.) "A profitable customer relationship is not a one-night stand." -- an author of a book on Loyalty Management. .

Note that this statement is not always true.

(a) When would a business want to develop a relationship with a customer? Give at least one example.

(b) When would a loyalty program be a waste of time? Give at least one example.

Now (very important) explain why you categorized businesses this way. And (for a truly great answer) explain how a business can be profitable without developing relationships with customers.

(3) Managers today can choose a technological approach to decision-making. For example, when designing new products, they can go to a database and do some data mining. When satisfying customers, they can create a technological solution.

For this TD: Present ONE marketing problem and compare a high-tech vs low tech approach to solving it. For instance, you can automate your markeing research - or you can use depth interviews as a low-tech solution. When is each approach appropriate?

Tip: You must use the term "technology" or "information technology" correctly to get an ! Review my Expectations Message and my other emails as well as the Background.

(4) Compare a high-tech AND a low-tech way to deal with frustration and cognitive dissonance.
Give specific examples from your own experience.

You can refer to different products and services, i.e., you can talk about a high-tech way to handle dissonance with cars and a low-tech way for health care, or vice versa.

You'll be evaluated on the logical way you state your position and your understanding of the concept of "technology."

(5) How are current organizations using technology to deal with problem customers and enhance security? Can technology help customers avoid danger, such as identity theft? Or would a low-tech solution be more effectively? For instance, at airports, can we use technology to reduce the hassle of security? Or will we always be dependent on subject face-to-face encounters?

Include specific examples from your own professional and personal experiences. It is important to be analytical rather than just descriptive. In other words - why as well as what!

As before you're evaluated on how you logically develop your answers AND how well you understand the notion of technology.

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Solution Preview


This article is both inspiring in how far companies have come in use of data mining and scary in how they use the information. Use of data mining has so much value for marketers when they use the programs to discover patterns of behavior such as buying or buyers we can forget that it is also possible for the programs to be intrusive. The privacy issue has become such a hot topic for everyone, especially in health care. To use a program in this way, to pressure doctors to prescribe based on the sales recommendation rather than the needs of the patient and the doctor is frightening. This information should not be in the hands of the representatives who sell the products. They depend on sales to make commissions and might, as noted in the article, use the information inappropriately.

Additionally, should patients learn of the pressure some doctors may be under, their faith might be undermined in the one person they depend on to help them get well. The institution of medicine has always been based on the privacy between the patient and doctor and doctor's staff. This will seem like more than coercion. It will appear to be an invasion of privacy.

(2.) "A profitable customer relationship is not a one-night stand." -- an author of a book on Loyalty Management. .

Note that this statement is not always true.

(a) When would a business want to develop a relationship with a customer? Give at least one example.
A business wants a relationship when they want to continue to sell to customers on a regular basis (or irregular basis) based on the needs and wants of the client. Service stations/convenience stores like to have a relationship with their customers. The customers return often to purchase gasoline and other products and this helps the store to be successful.

(b) When would a loyalty program be a waste of time? Give at least one example.
Loyalty programs work when a company can get enough information to offer special deals, learn a shopper's shopping patterns, and with the overall loyalty program know when and what to purchase and what is not selling. Often a company can identify specific types of products sold to different types of people and can make those offerings to bring ...

Solution Summary

Customer relations for the New York Times are examined.

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