Updated: May 26
Recently one of our clients asked us to help them with a fun project, they wanted to identify who the purchasing agents were at prospective clients. Now that sounds like a simple question to ask. It's harder than it seems.
There are two ways to do this. One, dial for dollars. That's challenging in an industry where the buyer doesn't always answer the phone and how do you really open that call too? "Hi, can you tell me who your decision maker is? Hello? Huh, guess they hung up." Two, employ the resources of a customer research firm such as V12 or ZoomInfo.
Even though we have more than 20 years in marketing intelligence and campaign management, sometimes we forget just how much information is out there about our customers (and ourselves). While our client chose not to move forward with either vendor (the vendors didn't have enough data), we did learn a few neat things.
1) Companies can position ads based on the search history of its potential customers. Everyone knows this, just open up your gmail account and look at all the spam emails. But what about the search history of not just your one main email, but also your throw-away email accounts. In fact, all those throw-away accounts we created to be anonymous - nope, not so anonymous. And I tested this using one of my email accounts. Found me right away.
2) Ads are positioned based on me and all my identities down to my IP address. Ads can also be positioned on mac address. Possibly, this was something I asked and researched and it's a little sketchy here.
3) Sometimes, customer research firms are not as proficient at data intelligence as they'd like to be. In the case of our client, we polled 100 prospective accounts to see if either V12 or ZoomInfo had information on them. Turns out they didn't.
4) International prospects - yeah, you are dialing for dollars for those accounts.
There were some more interesting lessons learned so happy to share with you if you are interested. And yes, V12 and ZoomInfo - both were great to speak with during the prospecting process. Unfortunately we just couldn't get the project off the ground.