Dun & Bradstreet Go to Bat for Data Integrity

The most sophisticated business intelligence tools in the world are worth nothing if they run against outdated data. Vendors can do little to help customers improve the integrity of their business data. One venerable firm, however, has a solution for business-to-business name and address data.

Dun & Bradstreet Corp. (www.dnb.com) recently unveiled version 3.1 of D&B Market Spectrum, a database marketing suite with a new Campaign Management component for tracking prospects’ responses, measuring marketing results and determining the overall effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Market Spectrum sells primarily for use on Windows NT platforms, but Dun & Bradstreet is in the process of porting the centerpiece of its data integrity solution, D&B Connect, to Windows NT from Unix. Market Spectrum builds queries and marketing campaigns on data maintained by D&B Connect.

According to Steve Horne, vice president of database consulting services at Dun & Bradstreet, data decay is a problem for organizations wanting to get the most out of their mission critical information stores. "In essence, the number one business problem that tends to be failing these warehouses is not necessarily the warehouse technology, but it's the underlying context and content of the data," Horne says. "Address data decays at 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent per month compounded. So the rate of change in these databases is tremendous."

D&B Connect allows organizations to combine customer data and third-party data with Dun & Bradstreet's global database, the contents of which Horne maintains can augment the marketing war chest of any IT organization.

"D&B has the largest database of businesses in the world," Horne contends. The database boasts 54 million records on a worldwide basis, accounting for about 99 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and much of the global GDP, Horne says. More than 2,000 employees make about 975,000 changes per day to the database, he says.

"The whole premise of why [some] customers have issues is they have a very hard time keeping their databases clean," Horne says. "On average the correctness and completeness of our database is 15 percent to 20 percent better than their own files."

A company can refresh the data on its D&B Connect server against the Dun & Bradstreet database, then run its own data through D&B Connect. "The product allows us to take customer data in, transform it into a structure and form that allows us to match it against our database, and then keep it clean on an ongoing basis," Horne says.

Market Spectrum can use the D&B data to develop an effective marketing campaign. For example, a company wanting to figure out which office of a potential client to market a product to, can use Market Spectrum to build a hierarchical chart of the client’s offices from the database and target the appropriate link in the chain. Market Spectrum 3.1's new Campaign Management software module lets users leverage the querying capabilities of Market Spectrum and integrate existing queries into the Campaign Management module. In this model, users can remove duplicate queries used within a campaign, use suppression to omit records based on user-defined criteria and prioritize the implementation of both duplication removal and suppression.

Mike Wright, a marketing manager with DialAmerica Marketing Inc. (www.dialamerica.com), says Market Spectrum 3.1’s new Campaign Management software module will improve the effectiveness of his company’s marketing operation. "We're very excited about the enhanced capabilities that Market Spectrum's Campaign Management will provide to us," Wright says. "With Campaign Management we will have even greater flexibility in selecting our prospect universes and analyzing the responses of our programs."