With Bizographics, ZoomInfo unveils a novel step toward more targeted b-to-b marketing

It’s a silly name but a sound concept: Segment the registered users of your site by industry, company, title, education, seniority and role within the company. For good measure, throw in some traditional demographic items like location and gender. ZoomInfo calls this bizographics, or business demographics. The new ad offering was just announced to the press, and at the ad:tech New York internet marketing conference.

In his most recent blog entry, senior ZoomInfo VP Russell Glass gives the following example of how bizographics can precisely focus an online ad’s viewers: “[a company offering an elite credit card] would have the ability to place advertising in front of users that fall within the “senior executive” bizographic, and focus messages based on this targeting — i.e, ‘CEOs now hear this.'”

Frankly, I don’t see that as being the best example of the power of this new ad platform, because the same ad buy could be made on sites specifically visited by senior executives. But I certainly see the potential. For much of my career I’ve yearned for a way to reach, say, “service industry executives with HR responsibilities.” If ZoomInfo’s system can allow for that type of pinpoint marketing, I see bizographics succeeding in spite of its unfortunate name.

Update 11/06/07: ad:tech is the stage for another, and similar, announcement. Facebook certainly has its share of user information to mine for ad value. Today one of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s big announcements was the launch of an ad platform called Social Ads. This targets ads based on member profile data and “spreads” these ad virally. It appears to be a B-to-C version of Bizographics. One that naturally has far greater reach. Scratch both of those statements. A clarifying article on 11/07/07 talked about what makes Facebook’s offering unique from other ad platforms. It doesn’t necessarily make for far-reaching ads. But their impact could be much greater, due to a word-of-mouth effect.

Who is Nick Haley and how did he earn his Gen C credentials?

Apple fan Nick Haley, an 18-year-old “fresher” at University of Leeds, got his first Macintosh computer when he was three. Earlier this year his enthusiasm bubbled over. The new iPod Touch inspired him to create a 30-second TV spot, complete with an infectious musical bed. But this act of creation didn’t earn Mr. Haley his Generation C strips. The “C,” after all, stands for Content, or Co-creation — as I described earlier in this post. No, he truly arrived when he posted the ad on YouTube.

If that were the end of the story, it would be inspiring enough. Here is a young man who acts on the urge to express his love for a brand — and home-grown video production — with like-minded fans and friends.That’s pretty cool.

But as this New York Times piece puts it, “Leave it to Apple to … think differently.” They rung him up, flew him to Los Angeles, and turned his concept into their newest TV spot. Kudos to the production expertise of Apple’s long-time ad agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, for not distorting Haley’s vision in the final product (it’s a pity they had to ditch the catchy song from the original, by the Brazilian band CSS).

It’s no surprise that Apple gets it when it comes to helping their wired fan base spread the word about their products. I look forward to seeing how many other brands follow suit. For me, at least, user-generated ads will be a major force in slowing down my inclination to zoom past commercials on my DVR.

Email deliverability issues sound familiar to direct mail pros

Recent discussions about email deliverability sound oddly familiar. Before email become a major marketing channel, Standard Presort Mail (known then as Third Class or Bulk) was the exclusive direct response medium. Mailboxes overflowed with catalogs and sales pitches. Back then this would be the case year-round, not just right now — in the protracted post-Halloween holiday season. It was inevitable that direct mailers would begin to seriously strain the postal system, using mail as something for which it was never designed. Weekly DM News reports would outrage readers with fresh tales of huge batches of mail delivered late or not at all. Delivery costs rose and delivery satisfaction fell. And thus emerged other media, following supply and demand (and abetted by Moore’s Law). These media included email. Now the outcry continues, but with this newer channel.

Fellow veteran of direct mail Melinda Krueger (MediaPost’s Email Diva) has a good post in that publication (registration required) about the influence of a dedicated IP address over deliverability. It’s a good primer to the topic of email reputation and how it is measured through the lens of an IP’s suspected spamming track record. More importantly, it helps the “lay audience” — those who think an ESP is a psychic ability and not an Email Service Provider — grasp the unintended consequences of email marketing.

Once again we marketers are using a medium for something no one considered at its birth.