At first the acquisition of Opinion Research Corp. by InfoUSA seemed to me like a bit of an odd duck: a business information database provider going into the research business? But at the end of the day, it's a perfect match in many ways. Research companies are always having to shell out for lists of people with whom to conduct research, and oftentimes the information that they receive in the process of culling through those contacts is valuable feedback for a database provider. At the same time InfoUSA's Donnelly Marketing arm tries to provide value-add for core InfoUSA databases and other content through its various sub-enterprises. What better value-add than to provide not only sales leads and company profiles but in-depth information on the attitudes of the markets to which you're selling? It provides a new layer of customizable value on top of InfoUSA databases that positions it more as a strategic marketing solutions resource. This combination should allow InfoUSA to stake out that position very cost-effectively in ways that go well beyond mere workflow integration and that focus instead on the key decisions that senior marketing managers must make in committing sales resources. The culture match may take some work, but in the meantime it's a deal that may not be stirring much coverage today but that will be sure to have resonance for some time to come.
UPDATE: An additional thought: if the overhead of using humans to maintain a database is becoming less advantageous in an era of online data mining and collaborative data development, what better way to leverage those resources than to put their high-touch efforts to work on much higher value products and services? This impresses me as a smarter deal the more that I think of it.