Abacus finds b-to-b rainmaker

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When searching for a first-rate database, many business-to-consumer direct marketers first stop is Abacus. If Brian Rainey has his way, b-to-b direct marketers will make it their first stop, too.

Abacus, a direct mail division of DoubleClick Inc., is the manager of The Abacus Business-to-Business Alliance, a proprietary database of 20 million business contacts and 230 million transactions.

Rainey has concentrated on building the Alliance since its launch three years ago and now, amid the economic downturn, is focusing on selling it to clients.

"We want to be part of every b-to-b mailer’s mailing, every time they mail," said Rainey, under whose guidance Abacus’ client base has grown to 1,800, from just 82 in 1992, when he joined the unit. Revenues have jumped from $1.4 million to $72.4 million during that period.

In March, Rainey held Abacus’ first Business-to-Business Alliance customer seminar. He is now seeking to double the account management team focusing on b-to-b to eight.

Abacus’ b-to-b ambitions reflect DoubleClick’s increasing interest in the space. While its New York-based parent has done much to build Abacus’ consumer abilities, Rainey is confident Abacus can return the favor in b-to-b. "We’re going to help DoubleClick move into this space," he said.

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