6. Use data from compilers to improve the performance of your house files. D&B, InfoUSA and Experian have been providing business demographic (also known as firmographic) overlays on B-to-B house files for a number of years. In the past three years, within an environment of generally mediocre economic conditions, the popularity of customer list appends has grown. Still, many B-to-B mailers are flying blind as to who their customers are.
The benefits of having a thorough and accurate firmographic picture of your customer list are numerous. You will gain access to a research tool that will help you identify the types and sizes of your customer companies. This will help you target prospects that look like customers in your existing house file. This insight also will help you in your product development and merchandising. Plus, combined with transactional data, the overlay becomes even more powerful, for it will help you identify prospects that look like your best customers. Conversely, you can avoid mailing prospect categories with poor repeat buying characteristics and/or low average orders.
Ralph Drybrough is CEO of MeritDirect, a list management/brokerage firm that specializes in circulation and database marketing strategies for B-to-B companies. He can be reached at (914) 368-1001.