Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A la Carte Database Records: LexisNexis Exposes Premium Corporate Affiliation Data via ECNext Ecommerce

Positioning premium business information in an increasingly fragmented field of channels and audiences can be a problem these days. As Shore's research shows there is high demand for content at the moment of greatest need, a factor that tightens up the sales loop and increasingly puts the emphasis on self-service sales of subscriptions and individual reports and records from business information databases. Up until recently LexisNexis has extended only a pinkie toe into the waters of single-unit business information sales with its AlaCarte online portal, vending mostly low-priced items such as archived news from licensed media sources. But now in partnership with content ecommerce enabler ECNext LexisNexis has announced a far more aggressive offering: corporate affiliations reports data.

Corporate Affiliations.com offers content from the core LexisNexis database that provides global coverage for about 200,000 prominent public and private parent companies and their subsidiaries, divisions, joint ventures and affiliates. Corporate affiliations data is a key element for analyzing corporate finances, legal relationships, strategic sales and competitive positioning, especially tricky with multinational companies for which overseas relationships in key developing markets may not be readily evident looking at public filings in markets such as the U.S. Pricing is based on the number of company entities returned in a given report: simple companies with few affiliations can go for as little as USD 9.99, up to the most complex companies with many relationships that will set you back USD 310.99 a report - or get a monthly subscription for USD 300.

Well-maintained corporate affiliations data is definitely a key premium content service, with fairly specific audiences within both large and small businesses and professional practices. A service such as Corporate Affiliations.com offers an excellent positioning of premium content for these audiences, offering well-scaled pricing and a well-designed ecommerce experience that makes it easy for this valuable content to be put to use quickly for those willing to expense it to the top line via a one-off sale or to the bottom line via a subscription. ECNext has already proven out its ability to field one-off sales of premium business information as a standalone service by its remarkably successful Manta portal which sells business profiles from Dun & Bradstreet and other high-ticket sources: it's a logical third party for LexisNexis to turn to for support in this project.

Ground-breaking services such as The Alacra Store have demonstrated the viability of one-off business information sales for some time now, but LexisNexis and ECNext are demonstrating that a la carte sales can be adapted effectively to very sophisticated premium databases without relying on outside aggregators for a sales venue. With the Web becoming the dominant "go to" source for users in corporate settings seeking outside business information selling premium business content online in the "right-sized" packages that fit a user's immediate needs is a "must have" strategy for business information database providers.

Online sales allow database publishers to develop both incremental revenue streams and deeper customer relationships for a wide variety of content sources at the user level. This is a crucial factor for database publishers involved in increasingly complex enterprise-level sales, demanding lengthy negotiations involving both corporate librarians and I.T. specialists to provide sophisticated integration and services. Online sales allow users eager for a "need it now" solution to be satisfied as efficiently as possible so their sales forces can stay focused on big-ticket sales - and to get sales leads for upgrades along the way.

Hats off to LexisNexis for an aggressive positioning of sophisticated business information that fills an important gap in the growing array of premium business content kiosks. Now if only they could do the same for enterprise-ready Web services...
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