B-to-B Data Decay The Untold Story
We Sell to People, not Companies
By John M. Coe
The very term business-to-business (b-to-b) implies that companies buy from other companies. Well, not exactly.
What actually occurs is people make purchasing decisions to buy from other companies. In other words, companies don't buy anything—people do. Therefore, in developing b-to-b direct marketing campaigns it's of critical importance to first target the correct individuals within the companies and then get and/or maintain accurate contact information of those targeted.
In fact, it's been determined that from 50 percent to 75 percent of a b-to-b direct marketing campaign's success rests on the accuracy of the list used in the direct marketing communications, whether it be by mail, e-mail or telephone.
We all know that people change jobs within their companies or join a new companies. The question is how fast do people change their contact information. Direct marketers must target and communicate to the correct "buyer" within the company.
In 2001 we conducted research on the accuracy of contact information and gathered 1,025 data inputs from a variety of businesspeople. Here are those results:
70.8 percent had one or more changes in a 12-month period.
The changes break down as follows:
65.8% title/job function change
42.9% phone number change
41.9% address change
37.3% e-mail address change
34.2% company name change
3.8% name change
We didn't calculate a change rate for fax number, because this frequently is a shared data element and doesn't represent a data attribute of the individual.
Upon further analysis, we found that 29.6 percent of the individuals changed companies. Therefore, several additional statistics can be determined:
• 4.6 percent of the companies changed their names;
• 12.3 percent of companies moved locations; and
• 41.2 percent of the individuals did not change companies but something else changed such as their titles, company names or addresses.