Based in Stamford, Connecticut, Aperture Technologies develops and sells visual infrastructure management solutions to thousands of recognizable companies and organizations worldwide such as Wal-Mart, GE Capital, AOL and NASA. Its solutions help these organizations operate more efficiently by managing their space, technology infrastructure and personnel assets.

The company's marketing programs had been fairly successful – Aperture had a steady flow of leads that resulted in plenty of closed deals. The company's databases were filled with information on its customers and prospects that might be of interest. However, Aperture wanted to achieve even greater success, so it began searching for a solution that would provide some critical analysis functionality that had been previously lacking. Aperture's goal was to gain a deep and intimate understanding of its customer base and clearly identify opportunities for growth.

After a thorough evaluation, Aperture chose MarketPlace Gold from Waltham, Massachusetts-based iMarket Inc., a Dun & Bradstreet company. MarketPlace Gold allows organizations to intelligently prospect for new customers based on insight gleaned from existing customer and lead databases. Specifically, it allows companies to match their own internal databases against iMarket's to find out what characteristics their best and worst customers share, what kinds of companies are most profitable, which industries provide the most revenue and where to find the best cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

This is the information Aperture Technologies needed in order to boost the effectiveness of its marketing programs. While they realized they had strengths in certain industries, they had no way of verifying if their hunches were correct, or if they were way off base. After installing MarketPlace Gold software, Aperture imported a list of recent customers and historical sales data into the iMarket database, which combines dozens of data sources to create a rich and deep database on 12 million U.S. businesses. Aperture was then able to identify a number of trends, such as market penetration and potential by industry, geography and profitability.

With this information in hand, Aperture then began using MarketPlace Gold to build prospect lists, focusing on those industries that promised to be most lucrative. Aperture was not only able to identify the companies it wanted to target, but also specific contacts within those companies, guaranteeing that it was directing its efforts to the decision-makers. Once the list was built, Aperture was able to license and download the list for immediate use. Each sales territory then received a targeted list of prequalified leads. The lists were also used in Aperture's direct mail and telemarketing campaigns.

Aperture has enjoyed a number of benefits by using MarketPlace Gold. First and foremost, the software provided flexibility and freedom. Rather than seek the services of an outside service bureau, Aperture was able to control the entire process without waiting weeks for results. Yet another cost-saving benefit is the ability to run reports as often as needed, at no additional charge. This proved invaluable to Aperture for running monthly reports to gauge how successfully it is infiltrating the markets it identified as ripe for opportunity and whether it may need to adjust its approach.

Since implementing MarketPlace Gold, Aperture Technologies has seen a marked improvement in the results from its marketing programs. The sales reps have raved about the reports they receive, as well as the quality of the leads.

Aperture's results are real and measurable. Using MarketPlace Gold, Aperture has increased sales conversion rates by approximately 25 percent and average order value by about 50 percent. Looking at specific direct marketing campaigns, Aperture has been able to increase responses from .04 percent to .05 percent – a 25 percent increase. Finally, when looking at specific vertical markets the company decided to target after learning its potential hot spots, Aperture can cite a 30 percent increase in sales.

While a number of organizations continue to create marketing programs based on hunches and anecdotal evidence, this is not the most effective approach. Instead, the key to success is to first unlock the key information within your own customer base. You must understand who they are, what they want and why they do business with you. It is only when you know where you are that you will know where you are going.

iMarket's MarketPlace Gold allows companies to intelligently prospect for new customers based on insight gleaned from existing customer and lead databases. The product allows companies to match their own internal databases against iMarket's to find out what characteristics their best and worst customers share, what kinds of companies are most profitable, which industries provide the most revenue and where to find the best cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

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