"We're probably the largest company that nobody's heard of," said Ed Heffernan, Alliance's chief executive. "Our job is to be invisible."
Big data brings together demographics, psychographics and transactions -- who you are, what makes you tick, and what you actually buy.
But what keeps the company in business is staying on top of trends.
Everything old turns new again. Take catalogs and watches.
Catalogs have found rebirth as powerful vehicles driving people to buy online, he says. And watches, once shunned by cellphone-carting youth, are now Gen Y fashion statements.
"It used to be a trigger for us that if you wear a watch, you weren't going to be communicated through social media. You were more of the permission-based email grouping," Heffernan says. "Now we have to factor in that you may actually be the most fashion-forward person out there."
The seemingly incongruous is often totally logical.
For example, don't try to sell a Nook or a Kindle for reading to ultra-high-techsters, he says.
"Someone finally said to me, 'Well, Ed, we're looking at computer screens all day. The last thing we want to think about is work. We want to go into total leisure mode and open up a book.'"