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Purchasing B2B Direct Marketing Data by Price-part-3

Posted on 01/09/2016 at 10:00By Corpdata

In part 1 (Data by Price Part 1) of our 3 part guide we looked at the rare occasions when sourcing cheap data COULD make some sense.

Part 2 (Data by Price Part 2) looked at the potential implicati…

In part 1 (Data by Price Part 1) of our 3 part guide we looked at the rare occasions when sourcing cheap data COULD make some sense.

Part 2 (Data by Price Part 2) looked at the potential implications and costs of using cheap data for your campaigns through a worked example of costs and returns. We conclude the article this month by considering the potential risks that are harder to evaluate. This is our third and concluding article.

Whilst some of the risks are specific to the channels used for contacting prospects, some apply to most situations. Commonly B2B campaigns use post, email, and telephone.

Since postal campaigns involve moving something physical be it a letter, brochure or even a gift, poor quality data results in piles of waste. This can be seen both inside, and beyond the company. Societally we are ever more conscious of waste, which is considered bad by most, particularly if it seems to be a result of bad planning. Internally, waste is often embarrassing to the marketing team, and can lead to awkward questions. Externally, duplicates lead to recipients receiving multiple items, or bad data leads to mailers being addressed to people or companies that have moved, or don’t even exist. All these things lead to damaged perceptions of the company, brand or marketing approach.
As we have made clear, it is important to act to ensure your data is maintained, and if a mailing list is old, the chances of mailing departed or even deceased people increases. The implications of this are self-evident, but waste is not the only outcome.

The data errors in telephoning do not pile up physically, but they rapidly emerge once your campaign is underway. Telemarketing is often done by teams of people, either within the company, or contracted through agencies. The company will have expectations about what these teams will deliver. Maintaining motivation is key to getting good results, however the teams have a vested interest in finding explanations for any performance shortfall. Data quality is possibly the simplest,
and is ready-made excuse.

Just like consumers, telemarketers form negative impressions much more rapidly than positive ones, and any sequence of a few calls to dead lines, people who have
left, or died tends to result in de-motivation, and even distrust of the campaign. Rebuilding a positive mindset can become a major challenge that takes a long time
to do, and changing the data to better quality offerings is often not insufficient. It is much better to use an accurate calling list in the first place.

Issues with email are not typically related to waste and non-delivery. Non-delivered email is normally returned and leaves little negative impact, however, deceased people or email gone-aways remain an issue.

Duplicates can become more of a challenge. Superficially, de-duplicating an email list may seem trivial, but people often use multiple email addresses, so christine@ and chris@ and c.jones@ and sales@ and info@ and webmaster@ might all arrive with the same person, and when you build in people who have left, she might also receive fred@, george@ and so on. As we can now see, this de-duplication task is no longer simple. Duplication matters because it immediately highlights your message as a bulk message to the recipient. This can create a perception of poor quality, low investment in communication, even being a spam email sender, and invite people to devalue your brand. But recipients are far from powerless.

Increasingly technology is employed to help manage the issue of spam email. Techniques such as content scanning, blacklists, blocklists, and reputation lists can impact on you and your email plans. Content scanning examines the content of the email using a variety of techniques to evaluate it’s ‘spam rating’. The lists are often ‘community generated’ which means people who receive spam emails
add the sender’s email address to a global list. Other lists use IP addresses or IP address ranges meaning that single machines or whole ranges of the internet can be blocked based on their address.

Sending emails that are readily identifiable as spam does upset some people, so much so that they can respond by adding your details to a ‘list’. When you are on a list, it can be remarkably difficult to get off it again. Often you will need to make commitments not to spam in future.

The bigger webmail providers, such as Gmail often enhance their spam rating with ‘in application feedback’ and will block all mail sent by you if enough people mark it as spam. This can even happen in real-time.

‘Domain level blocking’ remains one of the most challenging problems. If you email with little thought to the list you use, or send spam emails from any address and you are added to a domain level blocklist, some mail servers will refuse to deliver ANY email from any email address. This can really be crippling to your business.

One last thought on email. You are required under the current Data Protection Legislation to get an opt-in if you are sending email to a ‘proper person’. This means any individual in a personal capacity. But that includes sole-traders and partnerships! Whilst there have not yet been any convictions under this law, it seems likely the GDPR (link to our latest GDPR piece) will give considerably more teeth to this legislation, indeed it looks likely to extend the protection to include a prohibition on contacting people in a professional capacity too, without explicit informed consent.

Wider considerations

Accurately targeting your data is vital for a good return. It is just as wasteful to send your message to someone who cannot use your product, as it is to send it to a gone away address. Reputable marketing data suppliers have sophisticated systems and can use additional data elements, such as company size, to enable you to precisely target a list of prospects to get the best results.

Data ownership and copyright:
Does the person selling you a cheap list own that right? Many don’t, which means you could use the list and find you still owe the rightful owner for it’s use. Or end up in a copyright law battle. Ouch!

Brand and name:
Your brand or name is normally attached to all your communications. Any negative perceptions of your marketing communication can easily erode your brand and reputation.

Coherent and well executed campaign:
Successful marketing strategies depend in part on developing a ‘coherence’ across the components of your campaign and message. Poor quality data could compromise this.

A Quick Summary
Data is often a small component in the overall costs of your campaign. There are real and important ‘cost/benefit’ reasons to use the best quality data you can source. Doing so avoids many risks associated with using a poor quality list. For most purposes, the saving from buying cheap is not significant enough to warrant the potential costs and risks.

If you would like to know more, please call Corpdata on 01626 777 400