Chuck Richard of Outsell recently commented in an Outsell Insight (February 19, 2010) that the $4 billion company information segment and the related and ballooning $5 billion sales and marketing intelligence sector have become the wildest and woolliest neighborhood in the $367 billion professional information industry. The classic blue chip company information brands such as D&B/Hoover’s, Experian, Acxiom and OneSource are ducking it out for market share growth in a rugby-like scrum with hundreds of new players. Companies spending 50-60% of their online marketing on their own web sites, leaving less to spend on leads and lists.

  • Web scraping and entity extraction technologies that let disruptive startups quickly build and structure massive contacts and profiles databases that compete with the manual, editorially generated ones. Examples: ZiimInfo, Generate (acquired by Dow Jones), InsideView and NetProcex.
  • User Generated and contributed profile and contact information. Examples: LinkedIn und Jigsaw. Workflow and service providers specializing in assisting with elements of the sales and marketing functions. Examples: Hubspot, Eloqua. 
  • Analytics for improving conversion rates of lead generation, natural search, paid search keyword buys, direct marketing and other new business development.  Examples: Demandbase, NetFactor. “ 

With so many new competitors nipping at their heels from so many different sides, the established company information players are challenged to decide where to focus their counterattacks and where to aim their leapfrog initiatives. In the near term, the new competitors can compete aggressively on price, before differentiation based on quality of leads emerges. Quality will establish new rankings in the eyes of customers as they experience differences in conversion rates, bounce rates, workflow efficiencies and degree of lead qualification – the components of ROI.  Specialization will be another differentiator.

Source: Outsell Inc.

BIIA Newsletter March I – 2010 Issue