If it seems too good to be true…

Dirty data sellers will have amazing offers purporting to grow your contacts database, or tempting you into a one-off buy for that campaign you’ve planned and worked on for months. You can get tens of thousands of names for just a few pounds. There’s a reason for that. The data is rubbish – it’s usually out-of-date, not targeted and very unlikely to get results.

On the other hand, good marketing data providers will be able to provide information that is:

  • Fully Data Protection Act-compliant
  • Updated regularly with data guarantees
  • Segmented the way you want it to be.

But it will cost you a bit more. We’re going to wheel out another old saying here – buy cheap, pay twice. The dirty data list will cost you less in the first place but it won’t get results, so you’ll have to buy another one. You do want results from the data, don’t you?

Dirty data dodging questions

So besides their prices, what are the other ways you can identify dirty data sellers and make sure the marketing list you buy will deliver?
There are some key questions you should ask every data list provider:

  • How often is the data updated?
    Business data can decay by up to 40% a year, leading to a decline in response rates and deterioration in the cost-effectiveness of your campaign. Regular cleaning is essential to remove gone-aways and update contact information.
  • How is the data sourced? 
    A supplier should always be able to tell you how their data is collected. If they can’t, or the answers are vague, move on. Don’t gamble your budget and your brand reputation on an unknown entity. For example, a list sourced directly from Companies House won’t provide qualified trading addresses and contact information and your carefully crafted message may not arrive at its intended destination.
  • Are you registered with the Data Protection Act 1998? 
    All list owners in the UK must go through the process of notification/registration with the Information Commissioner’s Office and must collect data both fairly and lawfully.
  • Are you registered with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) in the UK?
    The DMA is Europe’s largest marketing association and is dedicated to the protection and development of the UK direct marketing industry. Members must adhere to the DMA’s Direct Marketing Code of Practice.
  • Do you have deliverability guarantees? 
    Deliverability guarantees can be a good measure of the confidence the data supplier has in the quality of their data.

Next steps

  • Check out online reviews of the data providers you’re considering – if they are dirty, someone will have revealed all the details
  • Get recommendations from colleagues and connections who have used good data providers
  • Check out who made the shortlists in the annual Database Marketing Awards
  • Make sure you allocate enough budget to get the right marketing data as without it you just won’t get results.
  • Related Topics: Business data supply