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How to reach your customers at work or at home

Have you ever wished you knew more about the consumer side of your business customers? 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 the business record. With StiristaLINK, you can enhance your business contacts with a personal email address, their social media handles, postal home address and phone, demographics and personal interests, vastly enhancing your understanding of your business contacts.

On the flip side, consumer marketers can use the capability to broaden the profile of their targets—where they work, their titles, schools attended, past employers, their LinkedIn URL, and maybe even their business email address—all kinds of data points that provide additional insight and access.

StiristaLINK’s files are pretty sizable: 20 million B2B profiles are enhanced with consumer information, and 55 million consumer emails are linked to a B2B 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. 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. 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 B2B 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% 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, 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 the Stirista company 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, softball, and 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 shot up.

For B2B marketers, perhaps the most immediate benefit of this capability will be in 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 no end to the new data-driven marketing opportunity that is coming along these days.

Ruth Stevens

Ruth Stevens advises clients on customer acquisition and retention. Ruth serves on the boards of directors of the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. She is a trustee of Princeton-In-Asia, past chair of the Business-to-Business Council of the DMA, 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 serves as a mentor to fledgling companies at the business accelerator in New York City. Ruth is an author and contributor to many notable business publications. Her books include B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results and Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, Trade Show and Event Marketing, and co-author of the white paper series “B-to-B Database Marketing.” Ruth is a sought-after speaker and trainer, and has presented to audiences and business schools in Asia, Australia, and Latin America. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff Davis, and IBM.

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