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Looking to expand, Port City Metal creates, segments database

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Port City Metal Services, Tulsa, Okla., a company that fabricates steel parts for manufacturers, is significantly increasing its business by employing basic segmentation strategies.

Less than a year ago, the company had no segmentation strategy. In fact, it didn’t have much of a database. A computer-based accounting package was the only means the company had of finding information on its approximately 600 customers.

"The way they were tracking everything was prehistoric," said Troy Kuske, Port City’s director of marketing and sales, who joined the company seven months ago and was charged with creating marketing tools to help the company expand. "They wanted to expand to Arkansas, Mississippi, Kansas and Texas, and they didn’t know how to do that," Kuske said.

Roy Porter, activities director at consultancy Porter Direct Marketing Inc., suggested Kuske embark on a database project to identify Port City’s best customers and then profile potential customers with similar attributes. Porter helped Kuske create a database of current customers, then cleansed the data by verifying and standardizing the information using a service from Listcleanup.com.

The database was then sent to Experian, which processed it through its Market Penetration Report. The service uses SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) codes and employee title codes that are overlaid on Experian’s national database of 16 million businesses in order to profile a company’s customers.

Graphing out revenue

"It’s a series of documents and spreadsheets and graphs that show where your business is and where your revenue and clients are," said Lansing Chew, group manager-business information solutions at Experian.

With this information, Port City was able to pinpoint specific businesses that fit the profile of profitable customers in areas where it wanted to expand.

While he would not discuss the specific profiles or attributes of desirable customers, Kuske said segmentation has been a clear win for Port City. The company has added 35 new customers in three months, all outside the Tulsa city limits.

"My only problem is I need to duplicate myself," said Kuske, who added he hopes to hire a few new salespeople before the end of the year to manage the increased business.

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