Tim Stevens
Wednesday, May 19, 2021

25-Year Anniversary & Thank You

At i-4business we recently reached a major milestone – 25 years in business. We wanted to recognise this and also thank everyone who has played their part in our journey. In this article we will also show you how we came to develop the data services that we have today and how technological advances have helped shape our processes over the years.

our data is only as good as our people


The beginnings

Back in the late 1980's / early-mid 1990’s, i-4business Founder, Barry Stevens had various Sales Leadership roles for leading software companies when he saw a gap in the market for high-quality marketing contact information.

Barry decided to pursue his vision that was quickly developing in this area and in 1996 he founded Proactive Marketing – our original name before we became i-4business later. 

The years of evolution

During our early years and moving forward through the early 2000's, Proactive Marketing (as we were still known) expanded its reputation as a high-quality and compliant European B2B data provider for tech vendors.

Proactive Marketing evolved into i-4business in 2011 to reflect the evolution of the company and the industry. However, even 10 years on from the re-brand, many still refer to us as Proactive which goes to show just how well recognised our history is amongst our longstanding, loyal customers and stakeholders.

Developing our processes

Over the years we have relied heavily on manual human research to ensure high quality at all times.

In the past this involved using physical company directories to make phone calls to do desk-based research and we would like to thank the hundreds of people who have worked for us over the years to carry out this task that has always led to high-quality data for our customers.

Moving forward to the present and all our researchers are full time and based in the UK. They are all native speakers, including French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Norwegian and Swedish, in addition to British, as we provide data across all of Western Europe.

Our researchers spend most of their time on the phone conducting telephone interviews to verify existing contact information, to update it when necessary, and to obtain new information for new contacts.

It’s hard work and we thank them for doing such a great job over so many years to help us develop our current, up to date online data products.

Related: The Role of the Researcher: How We Own Our Data

Thank you to our customers

Over the last 25 years we have worked with all types of tech businesses from data centre providers to cyber security firms and we would like to thank every last one of you!

A special thanks goes to the many, many customers who have stayed with us for long periods. It’s a tribute to our staff for their hard work and to our customers for their loyalty that our average customer relationship lasts longer than four years.

Not only that, it’s been very common for individuals to move companies and then become customers again in their new roles. In fact, most individual users come back to us on average with three different companies which is something that we’re extremely proud of.

How things have changed over the years

Of course, technology has always shaped our processes and our products and services. In particular, technology has played a big part in the development of our research methods and it will continue to help us develop them further in the future.

What hasn’t changed?

Lots has changed since we started, but some things remain just as they were in 1996.

We still maintain that people must do all of our research. This is a non-negotiable for us to ensure that quality remains high and that we continue to be the most compliant data provider in the industry. This will always be our primary goal – to provide you with compliant, legal and effective data for your marketing that’s a cut above the data available from competing providers.

Going full circle

We have recently moved back to Farnham, opposite the same offices where we started our journey 25 years ago and from here we’re all looking forward to the next 25 years!

Again, thanks to all our employees and customers, past and present. And another shout out to Barry Stevens who made all of this possible with his vision and his drive.

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