Trigger Data Give BTB Marketers a Fast Start

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While the availability of business-to-business trigger data helps marketers avoid prospects that may be questionable or undesirable, it also helps identify potential customers at critical times.


Triggers have been used in consumer and BTB marketing for some time in terms of being able to select new movers, name changes and other events that might present a marketing opportunity from various databases. Recently, some companies have taken that to another level.


In June, Experian introduced B2B Marketing Triggers, a tool that uses credit and marketing data to help business-to-business marketers complement their campaigns and improve response rates, especially when targeting small businesses. It uses the information from Experian's National Business Database along with business credit data to help marketers identify upsell, cross-sell and new opportunities as well as avoid risk.


"Event triggers are really detecting events that would indicate that someone is either in the market for additional products and services or that you don't want to market to that person," said Denise Hopkins, senior director of business marketing solutions at Experian, Costa Mesa, CA. "We all understand the concept of identifying an event that would tell you that someone is going to want to take action. The challenge is then being able to determine which events actually are significant and, in fact, do drive response or would indicate a need to withhold marketing."


List management and brokerage company MeritDirect added trigger data to its proprietary cooperative prospecting database MeritBase and calls the selects Purchase-Triggers.


"Our partnerships with Experian and D&B were critical to bringing this to market," said Blair Barondes, senior vice president at MeritDirect, White Plains, NY. "We work with both D&B and Experian to define the types of events that would be most predictive for BTB marketers and most meaningful to our clients. This is the first time to my knowledge that this type of data is available in a BTB cooperative database."


MeritBase has more than 1,000 response, publication and compiled lists that the company assembled on behalf of its brokerage clients. Outside brokers cannot access the database, though the individual lists are managed by various list management firms.


Since most of MeritDirect's clients mail exclusively out of MeritBase, the trigger data are appended to all of the lists in the database monthly.


"It allows all of our mailers to make better decisions about who to mail to and who to eliminate from their campaigns," Barondes said. "Primarily we're looking to identify companies that are expanding that need all the types of products that our clients generally sell."


Even so, each client will use triggers in a different way and has different parameters, he added.


In terms of trigger volume, Hopkins said that Experian sees about 12 million businesses that have a notable change to their profile in a typical month. Of those, there are 110,000 business name changes, 55,000 address changes and 200,000 contact name changes. And of those 12 million businesses, 23 percent have more than one event that's occurring.


Each marketer has to determine what specific triggers might mean to its business, Hopkins said.


"Combining triggers can add a lot of power in terms of what you may or may not want to do as a marketer," she said. "With name-change triggers, I always tell customers that I would identify those businesses and then apply different event triggers along with the name change."


Though a name change would create a need for new business cards and stationery, by the time it appeared on the file that material likely would have been obtained already, she added.


First-tier triggers identify an event at a business level such as name, address, phone number and contact changes. Second-tier triggers are credit event triggers. Hopkins gave an example of how credit risk triggers can reduce marketing expenses.


"A customer that only markets to businesses that have a medium or low risk score was able to drop all businesses that had dropped into the high-risk category from a campaign," she said. "In that one month there were 247,000 businesses that shifted into the high-risk category, and not mailing to those businesses saved the marketer $100,000 in that campaign."


Any edge in customer acquisition is key to marketers.


"It's all about companies that have BTB products where you want to be the first to market to somebody," Hopkins said. "If you're not using triggers, you're already running behind."


Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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