What Do They Buy?
Leveraging cooperative databases and the power of transactional data
By Steve Tinlin
During a presentation I gave at this year's Direct Marketing Association Conference & Exhibition with Sharon Langston of IBM, I had the opportunity to poll a room full of direct marketers about their current business headaches and challenges. An overwhelming theme arose: B-to-B marketers are suffering from a limited source of prospecting names.
As many as 80 percent of B-to-B direct marketers don't put their list on the market; response rates are declining; and the state of the economy has been reducing prospect sources and universes. Compounding these challenges is the fact that many mailers are finding it difficult to get good response from firmographic data.
Traditional B-to-B list selects typically include firmographic data such as employee size and SIC code. While this targeting method has proven successful for many mailers, it doesn't take advantage of actual buying behavior like a transactional database does. After all, employee size does not tell you about the vitality of a company, and the industry classifications tell you nothing about the purchasing activity of a prospect.
So, with these challenges, how can savvy B-to-B marketers positively impact their return on investment and get the most out of every marketing dollar? Leveraging transactional data is one step in the right direction. Transactional databases track the actual purchase history of buyers across many businesses to give marketers a clearer picture of customer behavior.
A transactional database tracks all purchases recorded, as well as the amount and date of expenditure. This is a key advantage of transactional data: It details exactly what B-to-B decision-makers have spent, as opposed to what they say they've spent or estimating spending ability based on firmographics. And it details this information at an individual level so that as a person changes organizations, you continue to leverage his or her purchasing history to make decisions.