In recent months, EMM has been talking to a lot of clients who are starting to build products around international B2B marketing data. What we have found from these conversations is that the most common challenge faced by these clients is finding a consistent, quality data supply. This left us wondering, why is it any more difficult than garnering US business contacts?
EMM has had the opportunity, over the last twenty-four months, to acquire international email lists in 226 countries from over 100 supply partners. After acquiring nearly a billion raw records, assembling, standardizing, formatting and making this data countable for US marketers, here are some of the reasons we’ve discovered for why it’s so hard to buy quality international marketing email data and how to make the process easier.
1. Non-uniform Characters and Formatting
About the only variation to this rule is email address, which is generally somewhat standardized in format and uses the same character set worldwide. It is the only standard that carries country to country within an international email list. Name, job title, company name, phones and just about every other marketing attribute are subject to errant characters, mis-converted 8-bit characters and hugely different entry formats for almost all variables on the file.
2. Widely Variant in-country Legislation and Culture for Email Marketing
While the US is generally very tolerant of advertising email and web based advertising, some cultures and indeed some foreign laws frown on commercial email marketing even when it’s limited to contacts at business email address. In other cultures, the practice is found “tacky” and even acquiring data in these markets is a challenge. We’ve found this to be a huge challenge in international email list building in South America specifically and our database counts reflect that. Our CEO, Rick Holmes, has put together a detailed guide to international country legislation which can be downloaded here.
3. Language Nuance
A prospect in Germany completes a sign-up through a short web form to sign up for a webinar. They complete the form and when entering city “Muenchen” is entered. The American marketer selling software to this executive is looking for contacts in “Munich”. Which spelling is given priority? This top level problem pervades setup for the entire international email database, country to country.
4. No Universal Firmagraphic Standard
Here in the US and even in Canada and the UK the “SIC” system are the agreed standard for cataloging industry. Popular reference files are available in countries where business credit is centralized have applied the SIC system in a two digit fashion for most countries but this is far from a given and requires a marketer to have access to a huge worldwide complex reference database. Even then because these sets almost always lack email, there’s no clear link back to the reference set. Matching to US data fetches information on the enterprise business but is woefully inadequate for SMB’s. Taxonomy interpretation from company name is spotty at best when including several major languages.
So now the question of how to buy an International B2B database. It’s simple, talk to EMM!
We have made it easier for marketers to reach their international targets. We have appended 6 new fields, cleaned up our existing data, and matched our companies, countries and levels. These changes helped us to better round out our international offerings.
We are proud to say that out of the over 24 million international B2B Email records we have over 8.5 million international records that contain full business card values.
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