What Is Dun & Bradstreet?

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Dun & Bradstreet is a company in business since 1841 that provides data to corporate clients about the operations of their customers. The company’s focus is helping D&B clients understand their customers and their "pain points,” says Rishi Dave, the chief marketing officer of Dun & Bradstreet, which helps clients form strong and mutually beneficial business relationships.

Dun & Bradstreet Objectives

Dun & Bradstreet collects and stores information about almost 240 million businesses. D&B clients purchase this data to better understand the companies in their target markets, fine-tune those target markets, and form lasting and profitable relationships with their preferred customers. Also, D&B sells data that help its clients manage vendors and supply chains to make sure their supply chain partners are in legal and regulatory compliance.

Dun & Bradstreet Operations

Dun & Bradstreet has provided highly structured business data, such as market analytics and competitor analysis, to client corporations for over a century. But in 2014, D&B partnered with FirstRain, a business analytics vendor, to provide clients unstructured data from social media. This partnership allows the integration of data captured by FirstRain into D&B products, including Hoover's, D&B360 and D&B Direct and First Research. As a result, D&B clients can purchase structured and unstructured data, such as Twitter mentions and other real-time references from the Web. D&B also partners with Lattice Engines, a company known for delivering sales and marketing insights to organizations. This partnership helps D&B clients better understand customer buying habits and develop analytical models to increase conversion rates -- the percentage of site visitors who become paying customers.

D&B and Client Competitive Advantage

The partnerships with FirstRain and Lattice Engines offer the potential to make D&B and its clients that make good use of structured and unstructured data more competitive. By combining sales and marketing applications with the unstructured data in real time, a client can increase its conversion rate, which increases the value of the data considerably. At a minimum, D&B’s provision of unstructured data may ensure Dun & Bradstreet remains relevant in a social world, says the investment consultant Ben Kepes on Forbes.com.

A Practical Use of Structured and Unstructured Data

By combining structured and unstructured data, the employees of a D&B client have additional business decision and sales support. For instance, using the two D&B data types and analytics, a company can better identify an existing or potential customer that might have an immediate need for its products. With this information, a company can also determine what customer might offer cross-sell and up-sell possibilities. In this way, the D&B data and capabilities allow a client’s sales staff to focus their efforts on customers with the greatest revenue potential. By identifying these targets, a business can increase not only its conversion rates, but also the size of its deals.