"When consumers move, they file a change of address," he said. "With professionals, there's nothing like that."
In larger companies, more than 20 people may be involved in a technology-purchasing decision, Coe said. "The quandary is figuring out who are the key people, and are they accurately portrayed by your data?"
There are numerous sources of such data today, Coe said, but they vary widely in terms of their accuracy. "You have to know the ins and outs and strengths and weaknesses of various data sources," he said. "What I'd ask them is what kind of priorities do you give what lists? If one company is on two different lists, which data gets preference?"
Ultimately, it's up to marketers to choose the right data providers. "You don't sell to companies, you sell to people," he said. "The proof is in the pudding, so if you're thinking about using a new data source, check it out -- take a sample of say 100 records and try to verify them."
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