Why should you consider B-to-B cooperative databases? Because they reduce the complexity of finding good prospects to mail. There are two kinds of cooperative databases available today: Abacus’ B2B Alliance and Experian’s B2B Base, which are of the membership type, and Direct Media’s Data Warehouse and Merit Direct’s MeritBase, which are list-specific options.
It is important to put these prospecting sources into perspective. A few definitions and figures will give us a framework. As of January 2007, there are 301 million people living in the United States. From that total, 146 million are employed: 115 million work in non-farm, private sector jobs, and 22 million work for the government, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How can you reach key businesses or segments of this large working population? You have some options. First, you can follow the traditional route of working with a list broker to rent lists that fit your criteria. Keep in mind that there are 24,000 business-related lists out of the total 53,000 lists for rent on the market today. But you probably will lose a large portion of the names you select to duplication between lists before you get your net mailable count.
The alternative is to investigate rental databases. These systems fall into three categories:
• Compiled—The compiled databases, such as infoUSA’s files, aggregate businesses from directories and corporate filings. They offer lower cost names but have limited contacts within companies and limited selectivity past the basic firmographics of industry, employee size and sales volume.
• Owned/managed—The owned/managed databases, such as Edith Roman’s BRAD, offer greater selectivity but are comprised of only the lists that a particular list firm manages. Selections across the database are possible, and there are many more criteria by which to select business and contacts. But you will not be able to add other lists from different sources.