Data sourcing can be a time consuming and confusing task. With 100’s of companies professing to have ‘the best B2B data lists available today’ how do you know which ones to trust? When buying B2B data from any data supplier you are entrusting them with possibly the most important aspect of your campaign. After all you could have the best copy in the world, the most compelling business case to portray but without well targeted, up to date data then the campaign could fall at the first hurdle.
It boils down to researching the supplier, going through the due diligence as you would with the supplier of any other business critical service. So what questions should you ask your supplier?
Below is a non-exhaustive list that will help to get you going.
How is the data sourced? Are you a list owner or a broker?
A supplier should always be able to tell you how their data is collected and whether they own it or broker it. If they refuse, they can’t or if the answers are vague, move on!
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.
How often is the data updated? What is the research/cleansing cycle of the data?
Business data can decay by up to 40% a year leading to declining response rates. Regular cleansing is essential to ensure up to date information.
Do you offer data refreshes within the license period?
Many suppliers will (some at an additional cost, so always check the pricing) offer a data refresh which can normally be taken at agreed points during any given license period, for example after 6 months of a 12 month license.
Do you have deliverability guarantees?
Reputable suppliers will normally provide a delivery guarantee based on a percentage which helps to judge the confidence any given supplier has in their data. However also remember that this enables you (if the data does not perform) to go back to the supplier and reject some if not all of the data.
What is the pricing model?
It is worth asking several questions around pricing as there can often be hidden extras when it comes to data! Confirm the cost for the actual data itself, normally a cost per ‘000 records. Confirm exactly what the fields (or demographics) you get for that price and what comes as standard. Confirm whether there are additional costs for additional information that is non-standard. Confirm costs for processing, matching and suppression of records.
Confirm turnaround for count requests, how they are requested and ask for sample counts to ensure that you can set delivery expectations correctly and that you understand the results and how they are presented. Can I segment on industry, job title or job function, employee size or turnover? Get more information on how granular you can be with your data search criteria
Are they up to date with the existing and upcoming European web acts/legislation?
If looking at email campaigns into countries outside of the UK then confirm with the supplier their understanding of the legislation within each country and ask exactly how the email addresses are obtained.
Can the email address provided be linked to a qualified trading postal address?
This Provides extra assurance the data is qualified and offers the opportunity of conducting a multi-channel campaign.
For email requirements, check if the email addresses are personal business emails or generic emails (info@ etc)? If you are after specific contacts for an email campaign, you will want to know whether you can market to them directly.
Do you screen your data against preference lists?
For telephone data, it is useful to know if the telephone numbers are suppressed against the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) and how regularly does suppression take place? It is worth noting that the CTPS flag is only valid for 28 days and would need to be refreshed if you are planning a long telemarketing campaign.
In conclusion there are many questions you can ask but a tip is if you are unsure then choose with caution. If you are entering into a relationship with a new supplier then check the terms and conditions and if at all possible, get referrals to reputable suppliers from your peers. If you would like someone to do the hard work for you then why not contact us today.