Carroll Publishing last week launched GovSearchLocal, an online searchable database that contains contact information for officials at the state, city and county levels. This includes contacts for all three branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial).

Other content contained in GovSearchLocal includes federal government offices located within a state, annual expenditures, monthly payroll figures and numbers of employees. The information is updated daily and the database offers broad functionality, such as the ability to build and download unlimited contact lists, the creation of organization charts and the ability to perform targeted searches by person, position, office, facility or congressional district.

Customers who only need content for one particular state are best served by this product, which eliminates the need for them to purchase a national database that is naturally more expensive.

This is a smart move by Carroll Publishing. The company recognizes the fact that many customers only want and need specific slices of data. Instead of requiring customers who just need local data from one state (the customers Carroll is targeting with GovSearchLocal) to purchase a complete national database, the company is enabling those customers to purchase just that one slice.

It's definitely worth it for Carroll and other publishers to follow this strategy. Instead of alienating a customer and losing a sale, publishers can instead begin small, yet valuable relationships with customers; relationships that have the potential to grow over time. If customers' needs change, they will know exactly who to turn to for their content needs. For directory and database publishers who can easily slice and dice their data to produce streamlined offerings, the effort is worth it. A small sale is better than no sale at all.