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MARKETING AND SALES EXECUTIVES SAY INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY TO PLAY STRONGER-THAN-EVER ROLE IN ACHIEVING MARKET LEADERSHIP

 CHICAGO, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Marketing and sales executives of Leading National Advertisers and Fortune 500 companies believe technology will play a stronger-than-ever role in reaching customers, gaining competitive advantage, and increasing market share, according to a new survey conducted for Advertising Age by OmniTech (R) Consulting Group, Inc.
 Results of the survey, published today in Ad Age, indicate "technology is the key to managing information that will help better target new markets and enhance a company's agility -- two major components of market leadership in the 90s," said John Faier, OmniTech Consultant and Division Head.
 "The use of technology in marketing is a recognized trend," says Faier, "but this survey indicates it is on the rise and playing an ever- strong role.
 "Technology is now frequently regarded as essential to sales success, despite its cost, the recession or other external factors," he said.
 EXTERNAL TO REPLACE INTERNAL FOCUS
 The in-depth telephone survey of nearly 150 senior marketing and sales executives of Leading National Advertisers and Fortune 500 companies, conducted in August 1992, further revealed that tomorrow's major applications of technology for marketing and sales will focus on the external, i.e., direct access to customers, improved customer/segment targeting and data interchange between companies and suppliers. This compares to today's focus on internal information and data access.
 "An overwhelming majority -- 95 percent -- of the executives we talked to view technology as very important' or somewhat important' to their company's marketplace success; with nearly half --45 percent -- saying it is currently being used to provide fast data analyses and real time information that leads to a greater ability to respond to customers," Faier stated.
 Whereas technology once was viewed as a backroom improvement area, Faier noted the survey showed that the challenges of today's business environment have refocused priorities to the creative use of technology in marketing and sales.
 Notably, the trend is gravitating beyond databases toward customized software, fiber optics, digital imaging and interactive video applications. These technologies are already widely accepted in advanced technology businesses and industries -- such as telecommunications -- Faier commented. More than 54 percent of the executives questioned believe their industry is not keeping pace with others in making use of available technology.
 OTHER KEY FINDINGS
 --INVESTMENT TRENDS. Nearly 40 percent of sales and marketing executives questioned believe they'll be investing a great deal more in technology over the next five years (compared to the past five). Forty one percent believe their investment will be "somewhat more." One third of the respondents named "to better serve customers" as the No. 1 motivation behind technology investment. Others named "to gain competitive advantage" and "to attract new customers" as their No. 1 motivations.
 "In many companies, technology is still viewed as an expense rather than a strategic investment," Faier commented.
 When talking about their INDUSTRIES, survey participants cited cost, fear of technology and concern about training and use as major obstacles to keeping pace with the growing investment and use of technology.
 --KEY APPLICATIONS. By 1997 technology will be used in a major way to forge stronger relationships with customers. Its use in both target marketing and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) applications will be doubling in that time. International use of technology will grow four times faster in target marketing in the next five years; while EDI use internationally will grow almost three times faster than currently.
 Globally, by 1977, one third of respondents say the most important application of technology will be for information and the growing flow of communication.
 --ROLE IN MARKET LEADERSHIP. Marketing and sales leadership is perceived by today's executives as strongly related to leadership in the use of technology. Procter & Gamble, Kraft General Foods and Wal Mart were most often mentioned as technology leaders. More than 60 percent of the executives interviewed strongly believe that if they don't keep up with technology, "the competition will leap frog us."
 --ATTITUDES TOWARDS TECHNOLOGY. Most executives interviewed fear technology is a double-edged sword: If they act today their company may invest too early, before the technology is able to bear fruit. But if they act tomorrow it may be too late, and they will lose competitive edge. Fifty-nine percent believe that in five years marketing efforts will be dramatically different because of information technology use. The marketers also expressed concern whether technology's use in sales and marketing will improve decision making, or create new levels of complexity.
 --CHIEF FEARS. The chief fear of those questioned was having to play catch up or their competitors will beat them using technology. Others fears named included information overload; the need for constant training, and wasting their technology investment.
 --PERSONAL USE. Among the marketing and sales executives interviewed, 87 percent have and use a personal computer -- mostly for E-Mail and data analysis.
 CONCLUSIONS:
 "The overall view emerging from the survey data is that the decision to invest in new sales and marketing technology is complex and difficult for most organizations," says Faier. "It is laced with ambiguity, uncertainty AND opportunity."
 Commenting that the choices are abundant and the technologies complex, Faier said "Suppliers to the Fortune 500 must recognize that technology success is a function of two factors: providing companies with strategic, easy-to-use solutions...and training personnel to use the technology to achieve results."
 OmniTech (R) Consulting Group, Inc. is a firm of marketing specialists that advises Fortune 1000 and other companies that market or use high tech products and services. Headquartered in Chicago, its clients include AT&T; Ameritech; Andersen Consulting; Baxter Health Care; Dell Computers; Digital Equipment; Motorola; PepsiCo.; Sears Roebuck & Co.; Warner-Lambert; Unisys, and US West.
 -0- 1/25/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Selected graphics available./
 /CONTACT: Joan Lufrano 312-876-2328, or John Faier, 312-876-2184, both for OmniTech/


CO: OmniTech Consulting Group, Inc. ST: Illinois IN: PUB SU: ECO

LR -- NY084 -- 8662 01/25/93 15:29 EST
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