Business information services are thriving as they gain sophisticated features to add value to their databases but they also face increasing competition on all fronts from web-sourced content and more specialized service providers. Chalk up a good score by Hoover's to fend off commoditization in its announced acquisition of First Research, a business intelligence service that serves up industry and state profiles aimed at sales professionals. First Research Call Prep Sheets are industry briefings designed to arm sales professionals with the right industry talking points before they walk out the door to accounts. State Profiles provide quarterly coverage of local issues impacting businesses in U.S. states for sales pros on the go across broad geographies.
All of this helps Hoover's to add a new layer of value-add content aimed at the sales professionals who are increasingly the core audience for many business information services. With more corporations providing an abundance of information online that can be mined easily by any number of services mere company profiles and sales contacts are not going to be sufficient for a business information provider to give their clients an industry edge. By focusing on the real-world situational needs of sales professionals via its First Research acquisition Hoover's is positioning itself more as a business intelligence solutions service that can provide complete briefings for sales professionals who need to know about not just individual accounts but as well the environment in which they play. Expect more plays like this from business information services providers - and more vendors positioning both technology and publishing services against business intelligence services in general.