Not much has changed in the last 25 years

Smart Profile is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on it. I have been asked to say something about our early days. I am more of a forward observer than a backward observer. Much has changed in the past quarter-century, but perhaps not so much. “Time flies when you are having fun. 


During autumn 1996, Smart Profile was founded with the purpose of becoming successful on the Dutch market, with specific B2B marketing data for the ICT market. We started off using the name Computer Profile. Together with Harry van der Lint and Margje de Groot we started in the business centre in Oudenbosch. Nowadays we work in Breda with a team of 80 employees.

Floppy disk and fax

We did not yet have much (direct) marketing data to sell, but we did supply the so-called buying intentions: which ICT projects are going to play? Our first customer was Dell. They turned the market upside down by delivering PCs directly to end-users. Our data was offered on a diskette, and the order confirmations came in by fax.

1998: Mobile phone

The mid-1990s saw the rise of the mobile phone. At the time, predictions of potential growth were made that seemed incredible to me. I now know better because the mobile phone has been adopted with lightning speed. Now you can perhaps compare that with the prediction of the speed at which the electrification of car fleets will happen. It may be that everyone will be surprised once again how quickly this will happen in the next few years.

The late 1990s: Internet

Another phenomenon was the rise of the Internet. Nobody knew exactly what it was, but you had to make sure you were on this technology train. It was the time of World Online and the dot-com bubble. Our clients were only interested when their company was going to do the IPO (Initial Public Offering), and they were all going to become millionaires. However, at the beginning of this century, the bubble burst completely, and the ICT market fell into recession. Perhaps this hype can be compared to the Bitcoin mania that is going on now. Who knows, maybe crypto-currencies will have a golden future just like the Internet. (Good to see this article again in 25 years)

Early 00’s: Internet giants

In 1998 Google was founded. In 2002, LinkedIn and, two years later, Facebook. These organisations drastically changed the digital landscape. (Direct) Marketing was expanded with new digital opportunities.


We started making our data available online. Diskettes and labels were a thing of the past. We moved to Breda and started to grow rapidly: not only with data but also with demand generation services.

The challenges are the same

However, the (sales) challenges that our customers face have not changed in recent years. They still have problems with their CRM system. Marketing and sales still want to know the size of their market and where those companies are located. The way we collect and distribute data has changed, but our customers are ultimately looking to realise their (sales) potential, just like our first customer Dell 25 years ago.

Did you find this blog by Michiel Alkemade interesting? This is the first blog in a series about 25 years of Smart Profile Benelux. Each blog will cover five years. The following blog will be written by Margje de Groot, the second employee of Smart Profile. Do you want to stay up to date? Then subscribe to the newsletter.