OneSource Lets Businesses Get Familiar With Potential Clients

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It took OneSource (www.onesource.com), Cambridge, MA, an Internet-based business information services provider, close to a year and a half to determine that sales organizations and sales departments are the best prospects for its new Business Browser product.


The company launched a six-week direct marketing campaign in late July targeting 26,000 organizations and departments across the country. The "Aunt Florie" campaign, which showed more than a 1 percent response rate in its first three weeks, promises an organization that by using Business Browser it will have the ability, within minutes, to know more about its business prospects than the prospect's Aunt Florie.


Christine Eyre, director of marketing for OneSource, said the concept is very "campaignable" and can continually be recycled.


"Assuming we continue to get these good response rates, we will use the same concept but substitute Aunt Florie with somebody else," she said. "Next time, we can say, 'Your Killer Prospect. In seconds, know him better than his psychiatrist.' Or his golfing buddies."


OneSource held off on running a direct mail campaign for Business Browser, Eyre said, because it wasn't sure who had the greatest need for it.


"When we first introduced the product, we were trying to market to as broad a range of people as possible and focusing mainly on business research organizations," she said. "We eventually found our niche and learned that sales groups and departments were most appealing to us. A lot of sales organizations don't have a wealth of information on prospects. Business Browser gives them a load of information within seconds."


Eyre plans to close the test campaign this month and roll out another two weeks later. The size of that campaign hasn't been determined, but she said it will be at least as big as the test campaign. She said a 1 percent response rate was what she anticipated for the entire six weeks of the campaign, not just the first three. The success of the test campaign surprised her since the offer did not contain a prize but required respondents to make a commitment.


"The offer wasn't along the lines of asking people to sign up and register for a free trip to Europe," she said.


Robert Rosenthal, president of Passaic Parc, Wellesley, MA, the advertising agency handling the campaign, said the two offers made through the mailing were either a free seven-day trial of the service or a free Business Browser report on any prospect, customer, competitor or partner of the company's choosing. Rosenthal said the piece "may be funny, but it gets right to the heart of what matters to business professionals."


"We targeted companies of all sizes and focused more on getting quality leads rather than worrying about quantity," Eyre said. "I'll take the few good prospective customers rather than a lot that are unsure if they are going to use the product or not."


The product is a service that organizations and departments can subscribe to for one year. It offers profiles on companies -- private or public -- of all sizes, as well as small and large industries. Available through the service are company profiles, news on the company, business and trade articles written about the company, financial data and reports, analyst reports, executive profiles, research reports, SEC filings and industry profiles.


"Anyone using this product can obtain information on whichever company or industry they want regardless of its size," she said, "and they can do it any time of the day or week that they want."


The piece is a self-mailer depicting a potential business prospect with his Aunt Florie on the cover. Inside is a rundown of the product and its capabilities along with an attached business reply card.


People responded to the mailing by filling out the reply letter inside the piece, by calling a toll-free number, by fax or on the Web. The cost of Business Browser varies with the number of users within a company. For example, if a company has 1,000 users, the service costs $150 per subscription or user.
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