How to Reach Your Customers at Home or at Work
Have you ever wished you knew more about your customers’ consumption habits? I have just learned about a new service from the San Antonio-based database marketing company, Stirista, that offers a way to link an individual’s consumer record with your corresponding business record. With StiristaLINK, you can enhance your business contacts with a personal email address, social media handles, home address, phone number, demographics and personal interests, vastly enhancing your understanding of your business contacts.
On the flip side, consumer marketers can use this capability to broaden the profile of their targets by providing additional insight — where they work, their titles, schools attended, past employers, their LinkedIn URL and perhaps even their work email address.
StiristaLINK’s files are pretty sizable: 20 million B-to-B profiles are enhanced with consumer information, while 55 million consumer emails are linked to a B-to-B profile.
I’ve been thinking about some of the things a marketer could do with this new capability. The use cases seem endless:
- Enrich business and consumer profiles for better targeting and segmentation.
- More touchpoints: Target consumers during business hours. Reach business people at home.
- Access hard-to-reach segments (e.g.: Say you’re selling graduate business education and want to find 20-somethings who still don’t have an MBA).
- Expand your universe of display and social media advertising targets.
- Offer business people consumer products based on their work status. For example: Insurance companies can offer health insurance to workers in companies that are known to have decided to issue vouchers to their employees.
I asked Stirista’s CEO Ajay Gupta about the technology behind the links. He explained that Stirista already had a massive database of B-to-B and consumer records. To create the linkage, they took two innovative approaches. First, they matched the Twitter handles in the business record to those in the consumer database. To validate the match, they conducted research into a sample of the linked records, and found a 97 percent accuracy rate.
Next, Stirista engineers developed a creative approach to inferring current employment among consumer records that happen to have unusual names, geo-coding them by home address and matching that to the same unusual name in a nearby company.
As an example, let's look at the case of Ajay Gupta himself. While there are scores of Ajay Guptas in the New York region, there happens to be only one in San Antonio. So the engineers could reasonably conclude that the Ajay Gupta working for Stirista is the same as the consumer Ajay Gupta who lives in San Antonio.
Of course, the technique does not work for the John Smiths, but it did add another layer of names to the file.
An early adopter of StiristaLINK was Weight Watchers, which was looking to improve its marketing to HR directors. Despite high brand awareness, selling Weight Watchers group packages had become increasingly difficult. The service is offered as a free benefit to companies, and employees receive a discounted rate when they join through their firms. But with more competition for their attention, HR directors were less and less motivated to pick up the deal and offer it to their employees.
The breakthrough came with the application of StiristaLINK to identify HR professionals and senior managers in the target companies whose consumer profiles indicated a personal interest in fitness and health. Stirista used a menu of about 20 keywords — cycling, exercise and softball, among others — to identify likely prospects and email them with a message about the importance of weight as a part of employee health and productivity. And the response rate boomed.
For B-to-B marketers, the most immediate benefit of this capability is reaching larger custom audiences. Most Twitter, Facebook and Google AdWords custom ad selection is based on the personal email address that was collected on sign up. By adding consumer data to your audience build, you’ll improve your reach dramatically.
There’s seemingly no end to the new data-driven marketing innovations these days.
A version of this article appeared in Biznology, the digital marketing blog.
Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain's BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.