Purchasing lists that contain names and contact information for new companies is hardly new. For decades, salespeople from myriad businesses have chased leads obtained from lists rented or sold by data providers. For many in the sales profession, it works just fine to use these lists to contact fledgling enterprises.
However, ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) need to reach decision makers before payment processing and POS systems are established for new ventures: Agents in our industry must close sales before new businesses even open their doors.
So, for ISOs and MLSs, customary monthly compilations of new enterprises are stale almost before they are compiled.
Enter Amacai Information Corp., a data provider that has something few others can match: access to the most complete telephone company information available (cross-checked with a variety of sources) compiled within 72 hours of new business phone line installation. Amacai seized this opportunity to offer unique services.
"You can get new business information from other sources," said Amacai President Troy Henikoff. "Public filings, for example, are very interesting. But most business owners file at the suggestion of their lawyer or accountant, frequently long before they're ready to open their doors.
"So the address and phone number listed in many of those filings is not the owner's contact info; it's the address and phone number of their lawyer or accountant. That's not very useful."
Amacai has been in business for about five years, but according to Henikoff, its roots go much deeper. The company is a privately held subsidiary of the Vienna, Va.-based TARGUSinfo.
"TARGUSinfo is one of those companies that you have probably never heard of, but that you've probably used more than once," Henikoff said. "If you ever called Domino's Pizza's 800 number and [were] connected to your local pizzeria, you got there through TARGUSinfo."
Henikoff said TARGUS sets the industry standard for telephony-based consumer initiated transactions. "TARGUSinfo data is so rich that marketers constantly asked them to provide their information for direct marketing in list and database format, but that isn't their business focus," he added.
Finally, TARGUSinfo purchased and merged InfoNational (formerly a unit of Equifax) and International Business Lists, Henikoff said. The company then added its telecommunications-based direct marketing data. The result was Amacai.
According to the company, Amacai is used by the biggest credit bureaus in the country and many of the largest marketers. The depth and breadth of its data impress many sales organizations. But it is the speed at which the company can deliver data that ISOs and MLSs find appealing.
"Pretty consistently our New Businesses On Demand product runs about 120,000 to 130,000 new businesses a month in the U.S.," Henikoff said. "That is an average of 6,000 new businesses every day."
The company's national business data product, Pure Business, provides the following information pertaining to about 16 million unique U.S. businesses:
Amacai receives data feeds directly from telecommunication firms each time a new phone connection is made. Because some of these could be existing companies adding phone or fax lines, or reinstatement of disconnected service, Amacai runs the data through a proprietary cleansing and matching process.
The company receives information daily. However, Sundays are slow for new phone installations.
Although this daily information isn't as complete as the Pure Business database, it includes business names, addresses and phone numbers. But only about 50% of the daily updates have SIC codes associated with them.
"There are organizations like ISOs that really need to be first to the door," Henikoff said. Amacai saw a market for extremely fresh information. So, in October 2006, it created the Data On Demand tool, which provides online access to data counts, fed with daily updates.
Data are available by subscription _ monthly or annually. "Of course, we can be more aggressive on pricing year-long subscriptions," Henikoff said.
Subscribers can choose geographic regions and SIC codes, specifying the types of businesses or the locations for which they want to receive data.
"If you only want to get information for new retail and hospitality businesses in the Chicago area, for example, you can do that," Henikoff said. "We can give you a pretty good estimate of how many you'll receive, but you only pay for what you actually receive."
The company doesn't focus only on lightning-fast data delivery; it also strives for convenient, speedy ordering.
ISOs and MLSs can go to Amacai's Web site (www.amacai.com); sort data by SIC code, industry type and/or geographic region; order on the spot with a credit card; and have leads in hand immediately.
Subscription information comes via e-mail or through a file transfer protocol Web site.
Mel Livengood, an MLS with American Merchant Services, is experimenting with Data on Demand. "I just began using the tool a few weeks ago, so it's too early to know how it works," he said. He is subscribing to all new business leads available within three counties.
"I get an e-mail every Monday with the leads, and I send each of them a letter and business card," he added.
Amacai also recently launched a turnkey subscription-based product called New Business Direct. Subscribers provide artwork and text describing the products and services they want to offer to prospective customers.
Amacai then prints postcards containing the offers and mails them to businesses fitting subscribers' predetermined criteria. This is done within 96 hours after phone connections for leads are in place.
The service is ongoing, using print-on-demand (POD) technology and first-class mail, and offering two standard postcard sizes. The minimum order is 500 postcards. Amacai executes the entire process every day.
"A few ISOs are experimenting with the postcards to warm up their prospects," Henikoff said, although he noted that most ISOs, so far, use Amacai's Data on Demand tool and then simply call their prospects.
"Amacai is in a class [by] itself," said Jennifer Chamberlin, the company's Director of Marketing. "Our focus is data. It's what we do best. And as a result, we have built one of the largest, most precise databases in the industry."
She added that the crucial factor is Amacai can get ISOs and MLSs in front of prospects first _ before the competition.
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233 South Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606-6312
Web site: www.amacai.com