From the December 2005 issue of Entrepreneur

While knowledge management--harnessing the collective information within a company--traditionally falls into the category of management or IT, it's also essential for effective marketers. Now, tools for knowledge management are within business owners' reach, says Tom Davenport, director of research at Babson College's School of Executive Education in Babson Park, Massachusetts, and author of Thinking for a Living: How to Get Better Performance and Results From Knowledge Workers.

"The organization needs to decide what type of information it cares about managing," says Davenport. Especially important for marketers: e-mails from customers; sales reports; and mentions on external websites, message boards and newsgroups. Davenport recommends these tools for tracking that information:

  • External search: In addition to traditional media- monitoring services, companies like CyberAlert have developed products such as Blog-Squirrel (starting at $195 per month), which searches more than 5 million blogs daily, and Netpinions (starting at $135 per month), which lets you know if your company is being discussed on commercial message boards.
  • Internal search:STCOM Technologies' InfoCrawler Pro ($3,499 for up to 50,000 documents) will index more than 240 types of documents from intranets, the internet, and local or remote disks. Davenport adds that Google Mini is also an affordable tool in this area ($2,995 for up to 100,000 documents).

Quick Pick:
Your next piece of mail can promote your company right down to the postage. Stamps.com has relaunched its PhotoStamps.com service, which allows users to upload photographs and design their own postage stamps using an interface through the company's website. The overhauled service doesn't allow the use of logos, but customers can upload photos that reinforce their businesses (think flowers for florists, sundaes for ice-cream vendors and so on) and order them in sheets, which take seven to 12 business days to arrive. You pay for the promo--a 20-count sheet of 37-cent stamps will cost you about $16.99. But it's the surest way to get your face, or your company's products, featured on a postage stamp.

20%

of cell phone users say some form of mobile advertising would be acceptable.
Statistic Source: In-Stat
Online local advertising spending in the U.S. is expected to grow from

$3.2 billion

this year to

$5.3 billion

in 2010.
Statistic Source: Jupitermedia Corp.