The marketplace for business data

Attracting Buyers

Posted 2015-11-13 by Jacob Ablowitz

Many of our first sellers have asked us how we will attract buyers that they don’t presently reach. We’ve heard other similar questions: “Why should I spend my time entering my data products into your website? How will it benefit me?”

To answer those and other similar questions, I’ll take you through an overview of our buyer acquisition strategy, which is based upon extensive market research with data buyers:

We will continually assess and refine our listing model and user interface

i.e., all the information you enter when you create a listing

Why it’s important:

  • Capturing lots of listing information is good!
    • Buyers can search, categorize, and filter along more dimensions and therefore more precisely
    • Buyers can compare multiple listings side by side when trying to decide what to purchase (feature coming soon)
    • Sellers have less sales-support work as buyers self-educate
  • The less information sellers must provide, however, the faster and more easily they will be able to create listings, helping build out our listing catalog

Finding the right balance is tricky, so we’ll continuously try to gather feedback and refine our model. Under any circumstances there’s a lot of information to display, so we will also iterate our user interface based upon both buyer and seller feedback to make it more intuitive and easier to use.

Current plan:

We’re collecting a relatively broad pool of information but only requiring sellers to provide select fields our research suggests buyers care most deeply about. We require at least one sample file upload for similar reasons.

API sellers: we haven’t yet implemented support for free API trials in lieu of sample files. We’d love your ideas on the best way to handle that, email us at to arrange a call.

We will focus upon reaching the right buyers

Why it’s important:

We looked carefully at what kinds of buyers other data marketplaces appeared to target. Our conclusion was that they all were oriented toward highly-technical buyers – data scientists, software engineers, etc., but in our experience technologists are rarely central to purchasing decisions.

Current plan: is “the marketplace for business data” for a reason – our buyer outreach will focus upon business people: executives, managers, consultants, sales leaders, etc.

We will reward sellers for bringing their buyers to

Why it’s important:

  • Present customers of data sellers have have proven their willingness to buy data from someone – they are much more likely than the general population to buy additional data covering other topics from other sellers
  • Rewarding sellers for bringing buyers generally aligns what’s good for sellers with what’s essential for us to get dmi to a “critical mass” of buyers and sellers

Current plan:

We will establish a referral program generally along the following lines:

  • When a seller refers a buyer to
    • We will waive seller fees (not including cost of payments) on any purchase that buyer makes from the referring seller through the site
    • We will pay the referring seller a portion of the fees we earn whenever that buyer purchases data from another seller
  • When a seller refers another seller to
    • We will pay the referring seller a portion of the fees we earn from the referred seller’s sales

Important: details such as how long we’ll share and/or waive fees for each referral are still TBD. Nothing herein should be construed as a commitment by to any specific structure. Any such referral program will be defined via a contractual agreement between each participating seller and

We will design and execute a best-in-class, iterative marketing campaign

Why it’s important:

As we recruit new sellers who create new listings and our catalog grows, we can achieve significant economies of scale in marketing data products that small & medium data sellers simply can’t. We can market at multiple levels, from targeting individual pay-per-click (PPC) ads for listings relating to search terms, to search engine optimization (SEO) that will create organic traffic, to promoting categories of data via social media. Eventually we can even advertise general themes helping previously-unaware business people discover all the the data they can buy to help them solve problems. Our iterative approach applies Agile and Lean concepts such that each iteration not only defines growth objectives but also yields meaningful data from which we can learn and improve future iterations.

Current plan:

Over the past year we’ve run a series of preliminary SEO and PPC tests, gathering data to answer questions like “What search terms do data buyers use?” and “How expensive are those terms per click?” The data from those initial tests showed promising results, which we’re using to inform the design of the first iteration of our online marketing campaign, which we will soon roll out. This iteration will focus upon improving our SEO and PPC targeting.

Bottom Line: instead of having to identify buyers and then convince them your data products are what they need, can and will bring the buyers to you. All you need to do is publish listings for your data products. We’ll do the rest.

About the author

Jacob Ablowitz

Jacob has deep experience with the data and technology systems that power the modern information economy. He began his career at Lockheed Martin, working on bleeding-edge ballistic missile defense and submarine sonar systems. At Dealertrack Technologies (now Cox Automotive), Jacob led infrastructure projects underpinning their market-leading car loan application platform. In 2012 he moved on to Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, in an analytics role, before starting dmi in 2013.

Jacob holds a B.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Colorado and a Master’s in Systems & Information Engineering from the University of Virginia. He is an active member of the Colorado startup community. In his (nearly nonexistent) spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family as well as playing and recording music in his basement studio with friends.

Latest Blog posts