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Archive for July, 2013

New Business Data Vertical Markets

Over recent months Responsiva have developed a new suite of business data groups, or vertical markets.

When seeking out a new prospect list, one of the most daunting tasks is sifting through the industry classifications to identify the good from the bad. With more than 2,000 classifications to choose from, this process can take several hours and requires the manual intervention to ensure accuracy. Responsiva has now amalgamated all of these classifications into a succinct list of 35 vertical markets. Just over two million of the b2b data records can be classified, with counts and percentages as follows;

Vertical   Market  Business Count % of Universe
Business   consultants & Training                      73,134 3.6%
Catering                        7,527 0.4%
Cleaning   Services                      26,454 1.3%
Computers,   Software & Hardware Consultancy                      70,483 3.5%
Construction   & Demolition                    182,503 9.0%
Education   Sector                      68,839 3.4%
Farming &   Agriculture                      60,356 3.0%
Finance &   Accounting                      58,958 2.9%
Food   Production                      12,309 0.6%
Hotels, Bars   & Restaurants                    173,701 8.6%
Insurance                        8,435 0.4%
Legal Services                      15,470 0.8%
Manufacturing   & Engineering                    141,888 7.0%
Marketing, PR   & Advertising                      12,468 0.6%
Medical Sector                      85,028 4.2%
Membership   organisations & political parties                      47,113 2.3%
Mining &   Raw Materials                        2,763 0.1%
Motor, Repairs   & Fuel                      83,222 4.1%
Personal   Services                      92,742 4.6%
Photography   & Media                      21,737 1.1%
Printing &   Publishing                      21,990 1.1%
Property                      83,295 4.1%
Public Sector                      10,488 0.5%
Recruitment                      16,529 0.8%
Recycling   & Waste Management                        8,244 0.4%
Rental Sector                      19,827 1.0%
Retail                    263,610 13.1%
Security   Services                        7,013 0.3%
Social &   Charity                      55,378 2.7%
Sports,   Leisure & Recreation                      76,868 3.8%
Surveyors,   Architects & Testing                      55,465 2.7%
Telecoms                        9,295 0.5%
Transport   & Storage                      78,586 3.9%
Utilities   (Gas, Water & Electricity)                        3,091 0.2%
Wholesale                      64,529 3.2%
Totals:                2,019,338 100%

 

Within each of these business data vertical markets resides every possible business classification. For example, within the group “Hotels, Bars & Restaurants” there is every business classification listing from pubs, wine bars, guest houses, hotels, all forms of restaurant (Indian, Chinese, Italian etc), take-aways, internet cafes, tea rooms to any other establishment you would associate with either overnight paid accommodation or having a meal or drink.

In applying these business groups to any data selection, the buyer is able to quickly identify the particular areas of interest or exclusion. Furthermore, if any further explanation is required of a particular group then this is easily expanded to illustrate the full listing of sectors therein.

To demonstrate the value of this new business grouping tool, for July 2013 only Responsiva are offering to apply it free of charge to your business database. Provided your database already includes industry classification or SIC codes (as all good business databases do) we will apply our new business grouping model to your file without charge.

 

What is the Value of this Tool?

Responsiva would normally charge £200 + vat to apply this business group model, so already there is a cost-saving by receiving this free information. But its true value and purpose is during the measurement of your campaign success. i.e., where are your positive results coming from? These business groups enable you to swiftly analyse your campaigns (or Responsiva will offer to do this for you) and enable you to identify future prospect data from within those high performing sectors.

If you have any questions regarding this new field, please give Responsiva a call on 0800 118 5000.

 

 

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The Cobbler’s Shoes And b2b data

You may have heard the story of the cobbler, whose kids were clothed in worn-out shoes? The point being to ask whether you would buy shoes from such a trader? Or would you go to the dentist who has manky teeth? I am often approached by mailing houses, offering to print, pack & post Responsiva’s monthly postal mailings; but when I ask them what mailing activity they run they explain that all their new business comes from word of mouth. Or the business coach who offers to help me make my business run without me, whose own business couldn’t run without them. Or even from telemarketing companies who generate new business from networking events or email marketing, rather than by picking up the phone.

No matter what your line of work, if you offer a product or service then you are best placed to take the benefit from it; you can ensure you receive the best possible service, and at cost price too. So with all these benefits, if you cannot sell your service to yourself then ask yourself what kind of service it is you are offering?

As an experienced b2b data list broker, Responsiva supplies business lists for postal mailings and telephone marketing. And with that we send out a postal mailing to new prospects most months. And not just because of any support in our own service, but more importantly because it yields a healthy return on investment. Response rates are typically around 1% – 1.5%, and up to one quarter of those responders ultimately convert to becoming a new customer. The ratios (measured over four years) have proven that for every £1 spent on postal mailings have delivered approximately £2.50 in profit from new business sales. That’s not revenue; for this the ratio is obviously higher. This is quite simply a straightforward 5:2 return on investment ratio from sending out a regular business mailing to new prospects most months. Although Responsiva obviously sources the b2b data list at cost price, the truth is that the mailing list is supplied for multiple usage. So many of the business prospects are re-mailed a few times, making the cost of the data list considerably more efficient. But this does raise the question as to whether a re-mailed business is more or less likely to respond? Responsiva’s statistics on this subject go back more than ten years, and is an area of both interest and focus. If you mailed 1,000 prospects for he first time, are they more or less likely to respond than if you had already mailed them one or two months ago? And are these any more or less responsive than business prospects you had mailed six times over the last one or two years?

The reality is quite straightforward and well worth remembering. The results are the same; a prospect is just as likely to respond if you have mailed them previously (though our measurements only go up to six times) than if you are touching them for the first time. That said, you must remove all mailing returns and responders from any future mailings, which will typically comprise around 3% of the mailing list.

All companies should have around ten channels to deliver new business enquiries, and postal mailings have proven to be a consistent route to market. And the postage is not so expensive when running campaigns of 4,000 units or more, due to the Mailsort discounts which are applied. And if you are thinking “but we could never run 4,000 postal letters every month; we are just a really small business. We couldn’t afford it and couldn’t cope with the volume of responses” then consider this fact: Responsiva is operated by just one person. You can never have too many new business enquiries; it is just a case of how you manage them.

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Are Marketing Lists Stronger In The Summer?

I have often considered marketing as a combination of;

  • What you say
  • Who you say it to
  • When you say it

The “what you say” element is quite literally the telemarketing script or postal mailing /email broadcast text content. And the “who you say it to” is a direct link to the b2b data file you source from a list broker. It is essential to get both elements right when initiating a marketing campaign.

But how important is the “when you say it” element, which relates to timing? And what effect does the campaign timing have on results?

It is impossible to determine the ever changing moods of prospects, and whether or not they will receive your marketing piece more warmly one day in comparison to the next. But there are some elements to business which genuinely are seasonal.

Imagine commercial contract solicitors, or even insolvency practitioners. Most businesses only want their services when they have a contractual litigation issue or (for the latter) their company is in severe financial difficulty. It isn’t practical to market your services to companies asking “do you have a problem we can help with?” because so many prospects would be immediately disqualified from having any need or desire of these services. Quite possibly they never will have a need too, but if ever they did it would be very much a question of timing.

Airt conditioning consultants work all year round; servicing maintenance contracts on a regular basis throughout the year. They don’t only want commercial customers when it’s hot, and offices are in need of an air conditioning fix. However, it is during the heat-wave times that the employees are at their most uncomfortable, stuck in a hot office environment. Here is where telemarketing can be particularly potent, as opposed to direct mail. The telemarketing list can be segmented by region and allocated the day’s weather forecast first thing in the morning. The regions expecting a swelteringly hot day can be targeted by phone; would your office benefit from a free review of its air conditioning systems? With the calls made during the hottest times of the day (say 11am to 3pm) they have the strongest possible chance of hitting at the right time. The beauty of telemarketing companies is that they are able to switch between client campaigns to suit the best timing of the calls.

Meanwhile, a telemarketing campaign to public houses, restaurants and hotels is probably best avoiding precisely these times of day (11am – 3pm) because they are traditionally busy times, during the lunch period. So a call during these hours is more likely to go unanswered or be met with an abrupt response.

Another particularly potent campaign for the summer months are the suppliers of water coolers and other office refreshment service companies. Again, the hotter the day the greater the probability that any prospect with a potential need will have a stronger desire to meet with the supplier of these services.

Neither of these approaches could be considered preying on the vulnerable, as it cannot be known from the telemarketing data which companies are in need of these services before the calls are made. As a telemarketing service provider you would simply be maximising your opportunity around the time of year, and hopefully generating your client a higher volume of quality appointments.

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Has your Business Reached Market Saturation?

The best place to start is to understand what market saturation means. It is effectively when the market for your product or service already owns (or has been introduced to) this product or service. And so possible future sales would only be generated from obsolescence, replacement or population growth.

Some examples; household white goods, tv’s and other modern conveniences. Almost everyone (with space & fixtures) has a washing machine, so future sales will come from replacement of old models and a growth in population, such as first time property buyers. The same could be said for cars; replacement of old vehicles, and individuals having recently passed their test being regarded as the population growth element.

One well-known example from modern times is mobile phones. In 1990 almost nobody had a mobile phone. But during the early 1990’s they became affordable to most consumers. So from 1990 to 1999 the Western World’s population grew from less than 5% ownership to more than 90%. But before the new Millennium had been reached, as almost everyone had a mobile phone, the market had become saturated. In economic terms, the Nineties were the golden age for mobile phones; the sales growth was astronomical. Whereas today most sales are made from upgrading old mobile phones, replacing lost, stolen and damaged phones, as well as the population growth element. i.e., kids getting their first phone.

From a business perspective, the level of sales your company will make relies to some degree on the level of market saturation of your product or service. In essence, supply and demand. New products and services to the market will have a low saturation level.

A good recent example of market saturation is business coaching. Although business coaches have been around for many years, there was surge in the UK marketplace from 2003. As a relatively new concept to the small business owner, their offering focuses on three main objectives; to coach the business owner on their team development, spend less time in the business (and more time working on the business from a strategic capacity) and to grow company profit. The market saturation levels can be well documented by the success rate of the telemarketing services in support of business coaches. From 2003 – 2008 Responsiva supplied nearly one million appointment-setting telephone marketing calls for business coaches across the UK. Working to similar scripts and prospect data lists throughout, the results changed over this five year period. The average number of appointments generated per day between 2003 and 2005 was three to four. Of course there were some variances between the talents of the telemarketers, but three or four appointments was a typical day’s work from an experienced operator. On a good day it could be as high as ten, and some days it could be zero; telephone marketing can go this way. Between 2006 and 2007 these averages dipped to about two per day, and by 2008 it had dropped to one. Could it be the telemarketers just not performing? Or the b2b data list they were calling from? Or even the script itself? Not really; all these elements had a reasonable level of consistency about them throughout the five year period.

What had changed over this five year period was the marketplace itself. By 2008 there were many hundreds of business coaches, so the supply had increased massively. Furthermore, if Responsiva had made one million calls, what about all the other telemarketing activity being made across the UK? If those one million calls represented as much as ten per cent of the calls being made then ten million calls would be a reasonable estimate to the UK market over that time period.

The next thing to consider is what the market truly is; how many viable businesses are out there? From the three million or so business entities out there, an estimated 500,000 are viable targets. So ten million telemarketing calls to 500,000 prospects gives a typical ratio of twenty calls per business. And that was by 2008. So it follows that by 2008 most viable prospects would have heard of business coaching. Many took advantage of the appointment with a local business coach, and some went on to employ one. Without doubt this is a good example of market saturation, which ultimately yields a lower return on investment, because the success of the telemarketing calls dropped. No matter how good the prospect data list, and no matter how talented the telemarketer, if you phone a business who has already been called twenty times (offering an appointment with their local business coach) then the simple fact is that the chances of the call being a successful one is quite low. And over the course of a week’s calling (say 600 dials) that telemarketer will generate less appointments than they would if they were calling into virgin territory; i.e., a region which has never previously been serviced by a business coach..

Today’s market for business coaching is still buoyant of course. Business owners still need (and many still desire) coaching. But few have to wait long before they are approached by one, and often they are approached by several in the same week.

As per the start of this article, new customers will generally be found from obsolescence, replacement or population growth. i.e., they wish to change coaches (so find a new one) or the new businesses (and their business owners) which come into the market. And there will still be a few out there who, after perhaps several months or years of consideration, now feel they are in a position where a business coach would be right for them.

Responsiva has supplied marketing data for business coaches for more than ten years, and during this time has developed a unique set of screening filters. This ensures that the business coach is targeting the right kind of business owner based on their tailored service. So if you are a business coach looking to increase your market share within your catchment area then please speak with us to ensure you are working with well-targeted marketing data for your telemarketing or direct mail initiatives.

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Business Data Quality

One of the most frequently asked questions at Responsiva is how recently our data has been updated. As a data list broker, strictly speaking it isn’t “our” data; Responsiva supplies prospect data from a business data universe which has been amalgamated from numerous well-respected b2b data sources. A list of these data sources can be found on the Responsiva home page.

Because the full b2b data universe comprises more than three million trading entities across the UK, it isn’t feasible to identify and report on precisely which records were last updated on which specific dates. However, all of the feeds into this business database have their own update process. The business data industry standard is to ensure that all companies are telephoned at least once per year for a verification and update. Any b2b data source which doesn’t operate in this manner would not be included within Responsiva’s preferred choice of data list sources. Or (as with Companies House data) used solely to gap-fill fields such as company turnover.

Responsiva conducted a customer survey throughout 2010, which resulted in 92% of business data buyers stating that data quality was more important to them than price, speed of service or any other aspect. A short video of these statistics is available here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frZFhqZwJ7I

It is a particularly interesting statistic, because in reality most buyers are more keep on price when it comes down to the final decision. This is most likely because there is no other information to go on at the front end; all data list brokers will say their data is of top notch quality, so what else can the buyer do? That’s why Responsiva provide free data samples with every quote, and an earlier blog covers what you should do with these samples to test their quality. See here for more information: http://www.responsiva.biz/blog/2013/06/17/business-data-samples/

By testing the quality of the sample data list, a buyer can be sure to make their decision on the one true element that matters to them. i.e., quality. Responsiva’s data is guaranteed in quality. At least 98% of the postal addresses and phone numbers will be accurate. Usually this is around 99%. And although there has yet to be a claim against this guarantee, it is something that we stand by and will credit (or refund) any excess.

Email addresses are a different matter, as they decay faster. So there is a guarantee of no more than 5% in hard bounces. Soft bounces will typically generate an additional 5%. But Responsiva are always happy to negotiate additional email addresses into the proposal to cater for this and ensure a satisfactory deliverability of your email list broadcast.

So when you are next looking for quotes (and haven’t made any firm decision on your preferred list broker) be sure to ask for samples and then test those samples. Price really shouldn’t come into the equation; it’s all about the business data quality. And only then should price and service be included as a secondary consideration. It only takes an hour to call 20 samples and sense-check their accuracy, and this will be one of the best investments of time you can spend before choosing your preferred supplier.

 

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