Rookie Review of a Reputable service.
August 05, 2014
Rookie Review of a Reputable service.
Score 4 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Hoover's (Legacy)
As a small consulting firm specializing in Virtual Worlds rehearsal we would use Hoover's to gather financial performance indications from privately held companies. There were five people in the organization, two executives, one IT director, and one manager. We all used the service. After gathering the key financials and competitive information we would build a profile of the organizations behavior over time with which to enter realistic data into a video game simulation (3D) where our clients would control an avatar. Hoover's would usually give us 1-3 pieces of information that we required 10 data points. We wanted the ten but could only come up with a little bit given that they were privately held companies and Hoover's had far less on them the plethora of data already provided by finance search engines. Usually executives names, merger history, business operations, etc would show up. It did not give us deep business intelligence but provided skeletal pattern with which to piece together what we were looking for.
- Hoover's has good information architecture in one sense that allowed you to keep track of where you have looked and also add anticipatory links for things you might like to research or know.
- It was great for finding a more complete picture of the companies history.
- It was helpful for piecing together contact information for people you may not have known worked there.
- Often multiple listings of the same data were presented which required clicking through each one to be sure you didn't miss any pertinent info.
- It would be nice to see recommended containers such as 'other people viewed' or interactive visual charts mapping company assets or leadership.
- The Data they provide often isn't accurate or is often outdated.
- I do not believe there was a positive ROI from Hoover's because we did not do the sales volume necessary to use the service. As a research and consulting firm we were developing nascent technologies funded by the NSF and outsourced our product marketing for the most part. Hoover's does help if you have a larger team able to spend the time combing through distributed details across licensed databases online. It is probably best suited for companies larger than 500 employees.
- Hoover's was used at my most recent internship but I do not know in what capacity. If I had used it in the last few months I would most likely have far more to say about its positive impact. There are just so many start ups providing cheaper competitive intelligence today. Hoover's is the Kodak of business intelligence. At one point they had a highly useful product (Polaroid) but miss the boat in terms of pivoting their resources to meet the needs of the user in 2014, a much different environment than even 2 years ago.
As a business and marketing intern, my experience while in school using these services is limited. But I will say that more accurate sales leads and competitive intelligence can be garnered just by using Data.com (a free service if you upload contacts) in conjunction with LinkedIn. The email formula needed for sales leads is found from Data.com and every contact within an organization is on LinkedIn. You also get competitor's workforce sizes and many other data points that if used creatively will help you integrate approximations for the financials of companies like how much they might have in parts of their budget to spend on a technology you want to sell them. I'd honestly rather spend an hour going back and forth between those sites aggregating it into an Excel spread sheet than spending company resources on Hoover's.
Using Hoover's (Legacy)
Hoover's just isn't compelling for the types of information they provide and the pricing model. But again, this is from the very limited perspective of a below entry level analyst who is just finishing their studies. It is probable that for some segments of industry, Hoover's has vast wealth of pertinent information. For example, when looking into agricultural industries for a consulting firm, I did not save any time with their service because information on factory locations and assets was scant. Using Google earth to view the square footage of the facilities to estimate assets was often more helpful.