Leveraging customer information is one of the goals of Andersen Consulting's investment last month in Prime Response Inc., a provider of Web-based marketing automation software. The huge Chicago-based information technology consulting firm took an equity stake in Cambridge, Mass.-based Prime Response as part of a global alliance between the two firms to develop the next generation of software for leveraging customer data to improve marketing efforts. "This alliance allows us to help our clients increase customer loyalty by improving the relevance and value of each customer communication and interaction," says Jacques Habib, European managing partner of customer insight with Andersen. A developer of customer relationship management software, Prime Response's [email protected] system is a marketing automation system that integrates e-mail and Web with traditional marketing channels such as direct sales and mass-market advertising. Companies use the system to distill insight about customers from vast amounts of transactional data. The idea is to use this understanding to design and deliver more sharply targeted marketing campaigns. Such software is especially useful for information-intensive industries such as telecommunications, financial services, and retail.