Information industry companies have increasingly realized it's not enough to sell just content. Customers want and need ever-more sophisticated tools and applications to make sense of the information at hand. We've seen a growing number of development partnerships between content companies and application technology providers to meet these requirements. D&B has partnered for several years with Apteco (http://www.apteco.com), a software development company based in the U.K. that specializes in marketing data analysis. Their joint marketing application, called D&B Market Insight, has been available for the U.K. and also for up to 16 countries across Europe either in single country version or pan-European variant. Now, D&B has introduced D&B Market Insight to the U.S. market and has deployed a new and improved version of the application. D&B Market Insight Version 3 is a Windows.NET application that combines the best of the Windows "drag and drop" interface with full Web connectivity. Version 3 offers new features and functionality, more flexible analysis tools, more powerful reporting capabilities, and integration with Microsoft Word and Excel.
The official product launch was Monday, April 3, but it's been a low-key introduction. The company issued no press release, and there's no mention of the product on the D&B Web site (http://www.dnb.com/us) or easy links to product information. There's limited information provided at http://www.dnbmi.com, but there is a link to a demo for existing D&B customers. D&B product manager Linda Ianace said the company has been training its U.S. sales staff and that product information is being distributed to current customers. According to Ianace, one current U.S. customer who was shown the product commented: "I have researched all your competitors and Market Insight blows them all away. It's amazing."
D&B Market Insight is a Web-based customer analysis and prospect targeting solution. It combines sophisticated customer profiling with what is, in effect, a data vending service. Market Insight uses the D&B marketing databases with customers' data overlaid, within Apteco's FastStats WebLink framework.
Customer records are first matched against the D&B database. Users can profile any part or the whole of their customer base against any part or the whole of the D&B database. They can then score by how well each record fits the profile they have established. This score can then be used to prioritize the data customers choose to purchase. Customers can complete the entire data purchase online and use the data immediately. D&B's database comprises 20 million "marketing-ready" records for both public and private companies in the U.S. and Canada and for companies globally linked to U.S. companies.
D&B Market Insight was developed by Apteco, which was originally formed in 1987 as a database consultancy. Apteco also maintains and updates the product's technology. The company has been developing its FastStats marketing data analysis software for more than 10 years. FastStats uses patented profiling, modeling, and scoring mechanisms to allow any set of data to be compared with any other. Ianace praised the results of the partnership: "So far it's been a wonderful relationship."
The newly enhanced application offers some sophisticated tools within a fairly intuitive interface. In line with current industry trends, the interface employs a number of visual elements to aid understanding—colors, relative size, sliders for changing parameters, graphs, charts, histograms, and even Venn diagrams are used to advantage in the product. Understanding the potential of all the capabilities could take a bit of a learning curve to grasp, but Ianace assured me that it's not bad once the basics are clear. The product also offers excellent documentation, she said. Market Insight does not require extensive data expertise or IT resources.
D&B Market Insight is designed to be a customer acquisition targeting tool. As D&B stated in its product information, "The information you hold on your customers is probably the most important asset that your company owns—so why not use it to your advantage?" The product helps marketing professionals understand their customers by their value, frequency, churn, and lifetime value; gain more insight by overlaying the data D&B holds on these customers; identify prospects that are most like their best customers; and identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities among existing customers.
One current customer in the U.K. commented: "We use the new version of Market Insight to realize not only prospect generation but to also do high-end analytical projects, which enables us to leverage up-sell opportunities. That is more than we could achieve with the prior version."
Another commented: "The new version of Market Insight gives us the same FastStats engine delivering quick results around customer or benchmark data, but with a clearer interface and a faster drag-and-drop intuitive approach. The new version also gives us the ability to export all work easily into Excel where we can further manipulate data with the click of button."
According to Ianace, D&B is targeting Market Insight for large enterprise organizations and high, middle-market companies—those with more than $50 million in sales and 200-plus employees. Pricing information was not disclosed. The product is sold as a bundled package—application plus data and license fee; a license for two seats is included with additional seats available. Later this year, the company may decide to introduce a scaled-down version that has less functionality, is more wizard-driven, and costs less.