with Raymond Butkus
Donnelley Leverages OneSource Acquisition
By Paula Hane
The Donnelley Group of infoUSA comprises nine companies offering consumer
and business information solutions for online and offline promotions, acquisition
and retention marketing, and sales. Companies include Donnelley Marketing,
Yesmail, Walter Karl, and other specialty services providers. In June 2004, infoUSA
acquired OneSource and has been integrating it within The Donnelley Group family.
I talked recently with Raymond Butkus, president of infoUSA's Donnelley
Group, about the company and product synergies, its plans for new content and
products, and trends in the industry.
Q: You have extensive sales and marketing expertise in both consumer
and business markets and came to Donnelley 2 years ago. Bringing you in looks
like a good move by infoUSA. What drew you to the company and this job?
A: Thank you, I appreciate the comment. I'd been aware of infoUSA
and Donnelley Marketing and had used their products for many years. We licensed
the Donnelley consumer file when I was with Naviant, a company I co-founded.
When I was with AT&T, I was involved in a business marketing segmentation
project where we were specifically targeting mid-markets, so I became aware
of infoUSA and its database (which at that point was called ABI, the
American Business Information file). So, I already had a great deal of respect
for the company, its products, and the management of the company.
I have a background that caused me to understand sales and marketing from
both sides of the deskboth the client and vendor sides. I've also run
marketing communications, which included advertising, promotions, direct mail,
etc. So, I've been confronted with many of the problems that our clients havekeeping
customer lists clean and actionable, doing meaningful segmentation and analyses
on customer data, acquiring prospect information, and developing profiles of
best customers so that models can be developed and overlaid on a prospect universe.
I have an appreciation of what our customers go through.
Q: Let's talk about the benefits and synergies that the acquisition
of OneSource and the integration into The Donnelley Group bring for infoUSA.
A: It's an acquisition that we feel extremely bullish about. We are
delighted to bring OneSource into The Donnelley Group and the infoUSA
family of companies for several reasons. First, we think there's a natural
synergy between the information content and information services that Donnelley
provides to its clients, which are typically used for marketing purposes, and
the information resources that OneSource brings to its clients, which are typically
used for sales and research purposes. In most companies, sales and marketing
are allied organizations and usually report to the same senior executive.
Second is the products themselves. Within Donnelley we have idEXEC, a company
purchased from Thomson in 2001, which is a mini-version of OneSourceproviding
executive and company profilesbut its focus is more on marketing information.
We were keenly aware of OneSource and very impressed by the quality of the
OneSource products, both at the mid-market level with Business Browser and
the high-end products, the Synergy Solutions and Catalyst Modules. idEXEC tends
to be more of what I call a "go and get" productyou want information
about a company or executive and you go and get it. Many of the OneSource products
that are used by sophisticated clients are embedded into CRM and other applications.
So, again, this was a natural fit.
The third reason is that there is not a great deal of overlap in the clients
for Donnelly and OneSourcesome, but not much. The Donnelley clients tend
to be clustered in technology, telecommunications, financial services, and
retail banking. OneSource clients, while there are some technology clients,
are clustered in accounting, professional services, and investment banking.
The ability to cross-sell was also very appealing.
Q: I understand that the OneSource products include content from rival
D&B, and that the plan is to replace this content with idEXEC content and
other infoUSA data. Can you provide an update on that process and how
it will affect customers?
A: The plan is to first replace the international information in OneSource
with alternate information. We have completed nearly all of the license agreements
in Europe and the Far East to enable complete replacement of the D&B data.
The sources that we have found are superior in every case in both numbersthat
is, counts of executives and companiesand quality. The D&B content
swap will be a great blessing for our customers. We will be conducting a client
event in the U.K. on Nov. 4 at which we will announce the new data source providers
and brief our clients on the new content that will start to appear in March
The second step of our content replacement is for domestic data. That will
take place on a phased basis between September 2005 and March 2006. The D&B
domestic data will be replaced by infoUSA data. I should point out that
the original source data provider to OneSource was infoUSA (the ABI
product). The D&B content has only been there for about 4 years, so this
is, in effect, going back to the roots of the data.
For customers, this is very good newsthe data sources will be superior,
the counts higher, and the quality will be better. We've already previewed
this for some of our European clients, and every one said they believe the
alternate suppliers' data are superior.
Q: You have stressed data quality and accuracy. In the past, I know infoUSA
commissioned some studies that compared its data to others and specifically
to D&B. Tell us about your quality control procedures.
A: An audit was recently completed by Creighton University's Joe Ricketts
Center in Electronic Commerce and Database Marketing that studied the data
quality of the five main providers of consumer information. infoUSA
and the Donnelley file, specifically, came out at the top of that audit. But,
on the question of quality of our business data, we provide data compiled specifically
for marketing purposes. We are not a credit bureau where providing data for
marketing is an afterthought. We pay close attention to providing the most
complete coverage, to accuracy, and to recencyhow current the information
is. If you take a snapshot of our database of some 14 million companies, about
80 percent of it changes every yearthis could be an address change, phone
number change, executive change, etc. Every piece of information on every record
in the business database is reviewed at least once a year, and some businesses
are reviewed more frequently. It's a continuous process.
By the way, we are the only original compiler of this type of information
that has an in-house business research compilation facility. We have 600 business
researchers on the phone at our facility in Omaha, Neb. Every other company
in this business does this on an outsourced basis, or they don't do it at all.
Every one of the companies we list is contacted by a telephone researcherand
that's really the "secret sauce" that contributes to the incredible accuracy
of infoUSA business data.
Q: Donnelley now covers a broad range of markets for its products.
Would you talk about your strategies for different markets and the resulting
pricing variations for Donnelley content?
A: Yes, The Donnelley Group of companies serves a wide variety of
vertical market segments, but, in addition to that, we also have a variety
of distribution channels. We sell directly via a contact sales force. For small
businesses we have an outbound telesales channel and a Web channel. We also
sell via re-marketers through a wholesale channel. Whenever you have multiple
distribution channels there are going to be pricing dissimilarities. It's true
in every industry I've been involved in. We also license data to many of the
search engines (for example, Yahoo! Finance and the Yahoo! business yellow
pages), to other data providers and online services, and to many news services.
Q: The OneSource Business Browser products have been targeted and
priced at the high end. What about plans for lower-priced derivative offerings
that would aim at more of the low and mid-marketsmaybe competing in the
A: Yes, we plan to introduce a product in the first quarter 2005 called
OneSource Express [Editor's Note: This is the working name for the product.]
that will combine the best of idEXEC and the best of Business Browser. It will
be priced competitively with Hoover's. This will be the first entry into this
low-end market by OneSource. We think it will be clear, both for features/functions
and for content, that it's a superior product to Hoover's. I don't want to
pre-announce this, so I can't give you more details at this time.
Q: What trends are you observing in the tools available to sales and
marketing professionals, such as analytics and other work-flow tools?
A: There's no question that, at the high end of the market, there's
a clear trend of embedding information within the context of applications on
the user's desktopthis is here to stay and it's growing in importance.
It's somewhat less significant at the mid-markets and not a big deal yet at
the small business market.
Trend two is maybe the Holy Grail of sales and marketing
professionals. It's not so much about the quantity of
content, it's about the relevance and "actionability"
of the content. Our Insight modules for OneSource Business
Browser, which will be released in the fourth quarter
[Editor’s Note: These were announced on Oct.
18.], are targeted to address that specific trendnamely,
that research and analyst professionals have less time
to spend on the grunt work of digging up information
at the same time as organizations are placing greater
importance on having the information. Therefore, the
information provider that can distill information and
put it into a usable context will winand we think
we have achieved just that with our Executive Insight
and Company Insight modules. So, those are the two megatrends
that I think are driving the industry.
Q: It's the acquisition of OneSource that actually brings the sophisticated
wraparound tools to infoUSA, which were lacking with its databases,
A: I should have mentioned this as a fourth benefit of the OneSource
acquisition, as it clearly was on our minds. We have not provided information
in an applications context the way OneSource does. The ability to embed infoUSA
data into the applications context of the OneSource tools was highly appealing
Q: Besides the new content deals and replacement of the D&B data,
what are your plans for The Donnelley Group for 2005?
A: We will put a greater emphasis on interbusiness-unit cross-selling,
in other words, introducing users of one or two products of The Donnelley Group
to a broader array of products and capabilities. This is high on our priority
list for 2005. Second, we will work on greater integration of the products
themselves, such as integrating Donnelley Market Zone (an analytic product)
with Yesmail products. (Yesmail is an e-mail marketing service platform.) Third,
we will be enriching and improving our data content itselfmore data sources,
deeper insights in consumer and lifestyle information, greater emphasis on
new businesses and start-ups, and more executive profile information.
Q: I noticed that infoUSA recently announced a product called
FindUSA, an investigative database for identity verification and screening.
Is this a new product and market for the company?
A: This is a product derived from the core consumer infoUSA
database and tweaked for investigative purposes. This is a market that we have
not historically been strong in, but it is one in which we have seen a growing
interest from our customers.
Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge you face as a company?
A: Like all information providers who deal in consumer information,
we must always be mindful of consumer privacy. While it might not be the most
significant challenge we face, it's among the most significant. Protecting
consumer and business customer data is absolutely critical and becoming more
so, given recent regulations and lawsDo Not Call, CAN-SPAM, Gramm-Leach-Bliley
Act, California Senate Bill 1. These are all examples requiring that marketers
who use information must be concerned with the protection of consumer privacy.
Q: So, how are you dealing with this? Are you filtering who can access
consumer data and for what purpose?
A: This could be another interview topic just in itself. We rigorously
comply with the Direct Marketing Association's guidelines for data protection
and privacythis covers things like data compilation processes, access
to information, data security, rights of usage, ability to change data, etc.
It's a wide and comprehensive policy.
We have also, for the last 4 years, sponsored the Donnelley Marketing Information
Privacy Forum in Aspen, Colo., at which industry experts help clients understand
the complex issues around this topic. In 2004, in addition to such keynote
speakers as Tom Peters, Martha Rogers, and Bill Clinton, we had seven round-table
discussions, one of which was on privacy in the media and featured a panel
of journalists. Join us next year to see firsthand what this conference is
Paula J. Hane is Information Today, Inc.'s news bureau chief
and editor of NewsBreaks. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.