Making the most of your institutional contacts

Many of your individual contacts will be affiliated to one or more institutions. Identifying these ‘related contacts’ in your data can be a challenge, but this information is a valuable component of a ‘single view’ of your institutional customers or prospects, and it can be really valuable in targeting your marketing more effectively.

1. Inferring affiliation. When individuals register for one of your services (eg. to submit a paper, or sign up for alerts), they may enter their institution name and email address as part of the process. Using automated matching, it’s often possible to link individuals to known institutions via the institution names given, although such names can at times be incomplete, misleading, or – worse still – junk. Email domain matching is usually more successful (eg. linking people with ‘’ emails to University of Oxford), although this technique requires a reference resource of institutional email domains from the publisher or a third party such as Ringgold.

2. Related contact ‘headlines’. With connections inferred, counts of related individuals by type can be listed for each of your institutions: how many affiliated pay-per-view purchasers, alert recipients, authors, and online registrants? In this way, the ‘headlines’ for a given institution can be made visible in a compact format, and it’s possible to search for institutions of interest based on this data: find institutions with >10 online registrants, or >50 alert sign-ups, and so on.

3. Activity summaries. When individuals are linked to a specific institution, relevant data from their own activity can be ‘rolled up’ into a summary that appears against the institution. A powerful example of this idea is a ‘Journal Papers Summary’, where counts of submitted and published articles grouped by title, drawn from affiliated author profiles, can be displayed and searched. This makes it easy to identify institutions without a subscription to a specific title but with relevant author activity, or – by contrast – to find institutions with a subscription to a title but few author submissions to date. Similar title-specific summaries might be useful for other activity from affiliated individuals, such as pay-per-view transactions or alert sign-ups.

4. Key organisational contacts. Of course, in identifying institutional sales targets, you need to know who to approach with your promotional campaign. The means to identify key contacts for an organisation by role (library acquisitions, site contact, director, etc.) from within your source data is important. You can then easily locate the right individuals when you need their contact details.