The problem:

Small businesses, such as restaurants, retailers and service providers, often don’t have the time or expertise to effectively market themselves.

The innovation:

After acquiring email addresses and other data for millions of potential customers, the company fashioned itself as a one-stop shop for small companies to affordably market themselves online with email and social media.

How they did it:

John Stokka knew the value of data.

When he started an Internet company in 2003, he discovered the effectiveness of email marketing and the availability of data.

There was a time when purchasing basic marketing data – things such as a person’s name, address, city, telephone number, gender – would cost a dollar per record. But in 2003, he purchased a database from an email marketing company, with about a million records, for a few thousand dollars.

“So I felt like I was sitting on a million dollars,” Stokka said. “I immediately began to try to buy as much data as possible... and started developing some technology to do email deployment.”

He routinely collected the data, developed a data management system and launched DomiKnow Inc., which stands for “dominate with knowledge,” in December 2011.

DomiKnow’s consumer email database has about 350 million records, which the company estimates to represent about 40 percent of the country’s population when people with multiple email addresses are taken into account. Beyond that, the company has the entire U.S Postal Service database and other databases, such as U.S. auto registrations in the past year and voter records for the last election. It also has a robust amount of information about people’s preferences and interests, which allows DomiKnow to focus on highly targeted audiences.

“There’s a few, a very few, handful of Fortune 100 companies that have databases like that, but nobody else that we know has anything of the size and scope of what we have at any level near ours,” Stokka said. Furthermore, he has created the software to tailor lists of potential customers to the client’s specific needs.

An example: DomiKnow recently was approached by a company that sells refurbished musical instruments to children. For that company, Domiknow could use its database to find households with children between the ages of 11 and 16 who are interested in the arts.

The payoff:

DomiKnow, in just more than a year, has become a public company, trading under the ticker symbol of DMNO. It has worked with about 40 companies since it was founded, and has gone from zero to 10 employees.

Domiknow is currently working to complete a large round of financing with institutional investors. The company is primed to grow its business exponentially, Stokka said.

“What we do for one company, we can do for two companies,” he said. “What we do for two companies, we can do for 20 companies. And what we do for 20 companies, we can do for 200 and 2,000. Our only limitation is the number of people, and the number of hours in the day.”