10 key questions you should be asking your data supplier and why

01-Feb-2012 09:36:44

For a successful campaign, you need to know the data you buy is up-to-date, correctly targeted and legal. Too often companies get their fingers burnt by using substandard data and are left wondering why their campaigns failed. Here are the top 10 key questions you should be asking your data supplier.


  • 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.



  • Are the addresses collected in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Direct Marketing Association's DM Code of Practice? This can reduce the risk of being viewed as a spammer with potentially damaging consequences such as being blacklisted by your ISP and suspension of all your online operations.
  • Can the email address be linked to a qualified trading postal address? Provides extra assurance the data is qualified and offers the opportunity of conducting a multi-channel campaign.



  • Are the addresses at registered or trading sites? Registered addresses aren't always the same as the trading address. Send your mailing piece to the former and you could end up with a lot of wasted costs.
  • Is the decision-maker based at the address supplied? Not all data suppliers can provide the names of decision makers at the site from which they operate. Again, make sure costs aren't lost through using the wrong data.



  • Are telephone numbers suppressed against the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) and how regularly does suppression take place? Prospect a business or individual by telephone that's on the TPS or CTPS register and you could end up with a fine. The Information Commissioner's Office has powers to issue penalties of up to £500,000 for telephone marketing breaches

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Topics: Business Data & Lists