Imagine a search engine that isn’t for finding fascinating facts about the Indian Ocean. Not for learning how much methane cows produce globally. And not for following the latest antics of someone named Kardashian.

Imagine, instead a search engine for customers — your customers.

That’s exactly what Mintigo has built, and will be unveiling shortly. The company has already helped UK communications company Orange double conversions. And working with Mintigo generated a 600 percent return on investment for lead-generation company Marketo.

I spoke to Mintigo chief executive Jacob Shama to find out how.

“The concept of a customer search engine is very new, very unique,” Shama says, “You’ve got and Hoovers, but they’re not really targeted … just names, really.”

Instead, Mintigo’s vision is to replace those “old-fashioned databases” with the web. Literally.

“The web will be your CRM,” Shama told me. “The web is your database.”

Mintigo starts by profiling you and your marketing needs, as well as a target industry or demographic. Then, after checking if your campaign is business-to-business or business-to-consumer, the online system asks for examples of good customers.

When it has at least 150, the software will analyze the list for commonalities — creating what the company calls a unique CustomerDNA for your campaign.

In B2B campaigns, CustomerDNA includes factors such as how the company markets, what the size of the sales department is versus marketing, what technologies they use online, social network activity, IT department size, and more. Consumer-based campaigns are more focused on social networks: data that consumers have allowed to be publicly available on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks.

Once the software has identified your needs, the process is all automated.

“We crawl almost the entire web to find similar companies,” Shama told me. “And then we leverage CustomerDNA to find the most matching companies.”

To do so, Mintigo leverages big data, social networks, and the web. For each project and each client, the company re-crawls websites from its cloud-based servers, which the company says ensures data freshness.

“It’s time consuming and resource consuming, but the outcome is quality,” says Shama.

And, I might add, it reduces potential privacy issues related to keeping and storing private information.

The outcome of the process?

A list of qualified leads: either target companies, with contact names and information, or consumers … also with contact information. Meaning that your sales force is starting with an unfair advantage: They know who is more likely to want, need, and pay for the products or services you sell.

According to Shama, “we’re the only solution that we know that does this very cleanly, in a very automated way.”

If this works as well at scale as it has in Mintigo’s tests, the software could almost be a license to print money.

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Image credit: Olly/ShutterStockDietmar Hoepfl/ShutterStockLeo Blanchette/ShutterStock