If you are irritated by the amount of junk mail you get, take heart. Companies are using database marketing to find out who really wants to receive what. Jane Bird.
Should you buy a new car from Saab, be prepared to disclose a little more than your name and address. Saab will want to know whether you are single, married or divorced. Have you any children? Do you enjoy listening to music, rock-climbing or parachuting? Where do you take your holidays? Which newspapers and magazines do you read? What are your favourite TV programmes? And incidentally, why did you choose a Saab?
This interrogation may seem like a gross invasion of privacy, but no- one is obliged to answer Saab's questionnaire. In fact, 95% of customers fill in the form, says Chris Owens, the company's UK advertising and direct marketing manager. They are willing to put pen to paper in return for entry in a prize draw, or the offer by Saab to return their car keys should they ever be found and handed in to the company.