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Abstract

The desire to maximize marketing effectiveness and reduce communication costs has increased direct marketers' reliance on computerized databases, customized persuasion, and other consumer information intensive strategies and tactics (28,54). The belief that the success of marketing efforts is positively related to the amount and specificity of individual-level consumer information (7), however, has raised questions about how far companies should be allowed to go in learning about or attempting to persuade consumers (6,40). In the process, privacy has become widely evoked, but often elusive concept. This article develops a framework for addressing privacy concerns that arise when direct marketers utilize consumer information. It does so by identifying the underlying dimensions of the privacy construct and examining the relationships between those dimensions and direct marketers' consumer information practices. This approach not only helps identify situations when privacy matters, but suggests productive strategies and tactics for alleviating consumer concerns related to the use of individual-level consumer information.