Oracle takes charge of data

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Oracle, like most large b-to-b companies, was challenged by the need to maintain quality data and intelligence on customers and prospects. The company, which markets enterprise software and services to manage, share and maintain data, needed to get a complete view of its own data in order to market to existing customers and find new ones.

B-to-b data present complex challenges. The information can change rapidly-people are promoted or leave a company or transfer to different regions-and there are often several executives involved in a single business purchase.

"Unlike b-to-c, there's never just one decision-maker," said Thomas Brauch, Oracle's director of advanced analytics, global marketing. That means that in order to enable marketers to pinpoint the right targets, customer data need to be comprehensive, integrated, accurate and constantly updated. Brauch is tasked with providing Oracle's marketing group with best prospects and in-depth information on its best customers.

Oracle sought help

Oracle undertook an initiative to gather, centralize and integrate all customer information and turned to b-to-b data provider Dun & Bradstreet for help.

Oracle already contracted with D&B for appended data on customers and prospects. It also collected data from other sources, such as trusted third-party data providers and trade show attendees, to complement D&B's data.

"Data quality is important in b-to-b marketing because you need to tie all those contacts back to the organization," said Andrew Kapochunas, leader-business development and strategy, Sales & Marketing Solutions, at D&B.

When it had all the information, Oracle needed a way to automate the integration. Without that, the process was too slow and too labor intensive, which led to missed marketing opportunities.

In order to make sense of the vast data stream, D&B's Integration Manager was deployed. Integration Manager automates the processes for accessing D&B data that Oracle uses and speeds up the time it takes to match information from its database to D&B's records.

Oracle also appends D&B's D-U-N-S information. D-U-N-S is a system of global numbers that D&B assigns to each of its company records to identify and link companies within a corporate entity and by location.

In order to market to a specific company, Brauch said, "You need to be able to tie the sites [company locations] together. Customers are in multiple locations.

"You can have a relationship with a multinational bank, for example, and we may be talking to C-level executives in the headquarters, but the folks maintaining the product may be located in Idaho."

Brauch said D&B has the "ability to link disparate organizations that may not look like they belong to each other through their hierarchy to allow us to coalesce them into a single customer or single prospect."

Armed with that knowledge, Oracle uses a proprietary marketing model to identify its most promising prospects, where its best cross-selling opportunities exist and the best marketing messages to use for a specific customer segment.

Integration Manager's automated process has made that routine much simpler for Oracle's marketing team, which can access the centrally located data quickly and easily, and find the prospect or customer information they need.

From two weeks to four hours

After implementing Integration Manager, Oracle said it brought its processing time to as little as four hours, down from the up to two weeks it had taken to do manual processing. The company also had a 20% improvement in the match rate of Oracle customer and prospect data to D&B information, and a 30% decrease in duplicate records by incorporating D-U-N-S numbers.

In September, Oracle developed a prospect model for the Asia-Pacific region to gain new customers in markets such as China and observed a significant lift in response rates.

"There's a lot of opportunity there," Brauch said. "The challenge is being able to understand the opportunity. D&B not only provides intelligence about the region but many of the organizations have multinational relationships and trading relationships.

"Companies in that region that are multinational are better prospects than those serving regional markets. But how do you identify companies that meet that profile and develop the firmographic information?"

While he would not provide exact numbers, Brauch said the response rate for its effort in the Asia-Pacific region was six times greater than the average response rate without Integration Manager. 

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