Monday, December 01, 2014

Radius Provides High Quality Data on Small Businesses

When I first spoke with Radius just over one year ago, the company had already pivoted from its initial concept as a mobile app to connect consumers with local business events, to building a comprehensive list of small businesses and their attributes. Fast-forward twelve months and the company has again adjusted its offering, now presenting itself as a “marketing intelligence platform” that helps business marketers find prospects who are similar to their current buyers. This latest vision was appealing enough to attract $54.7 million in funding in September, bringing the announced total to over $80 million. So I’m guessing Radius will stick with this approach for a while.

What Radius does will sound broadly familiar to loyal readers of this blog: it scans social media, Web pages, government records, and other online sources to build a list of more than 20 million U.S. businesses and their attributes. It supplements these with conventional data sources to capture businesses with a limited digital profile. In its current incarnation, Radius also imports a list of won and lost deals from each client’s CRM system (direct connection to, batch imports from others) and shows how well each attribute correlates with success.

Users can review the attribute list, create segments based on attributes, and analyze the attributes of each segment as a group. They can also flag existing segment members within the client’s current CRM database and import segment members who are not already in the client’s CRM (a.k.a. “net new prospects”). The imported records include basic company information and other attributes the client has preselected, but the system will not correct or enhance existing CRM records. Segment membership is adjusted automatically as Radius updates its data, which happens weekly. The system does not store fixed lists of segment members at a point in time, although users could achieve this by tagging records in CRM as they are imported. 

And that’s pretty much it. No list of the most important attributes, no predictive modeling, one contact name per company, no alerts based on buying signals, no campaign analysis: just company information compared to your own customers, an way to build segments, and an option to purchase new prospects. The company plans to address some of these gaps but has not released the details.

Whatever its limits, Radius has attracted some big-name customers, most notably American Express, as well as all that funding. The primary reason seems to be data quality: the company says it can usually match 80% to 90% of the businesses in a well-maintained CRM system and that client tests have shown it is more accurate than competitors. This is both impressive and important, especially where small businesses are concerned. Available data includes basics (address, phone, industry, company size, revenue, contact name), Web activity (presence of a Web site, Facebook and Twitter accounts, use of daily deals and check ins, and average review ratings), and technologies used.

The system has some other advantages.  New clients are deployed in 24 hours, including the time to import CRM data and calculate success rates by attribute. The user interface is attractive and intuitive.  Pricing starts at $15,000 per year for small enterprises.  It is based on the number of company records in the client database, so it doesn’t increase based on how heavily the system is used.  It also includes use of the system software and credits for some number of new prospects imported from the Radius database.

In short, Radius strikes me as a solid solution for what it does, which is provide targeted company-level prospect lists and profiles of your current customer base. If that’s what you want, take a closer look. If you want to know more about trigger events or individual contacts or want lead scoring or other types of predictive modeling, you’ll probably be happier with something else.

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