There are lots of data providers.  The cost of data varies enormously.  So what do you need to be aware of before you take the plunge?


The difference between cheap and more expensive data is the quality.  The cost often reflects the effort the data provider takes to ensure the data is accurate.  Expensive data providers are more likely to verify data themselves, frequently and by telephone.


You’ll usually be given two options.  The options relate to how you can use the data and also how much you pay.


The first is single use.  So you’ll be able to use the data for a single, email campaign, postal campaign, telemarketing campaign etc.  Sometimes data providers offer to fulfill these campaigns for you.


The second option is a 12 months lease.  You’ll have 12 months unlimited access to the data and you can send out as many campaigns as you want during that period.  At the end of the 12 months you must delete all contacts that haven’t engaged with you.


Data providers may ask you to sign a contract which will highlight how the data should be used and penalties for misuse.  Again data providers may add spurious data so they can keep an eye on users.  The data shouldn’t include any contact on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or the Mail Preference Service (MPS).  Check to see if the data provider is a member of the Direct Marketing Association too.  If you’re not already registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office you might want to consider it.


More expensive data is likely to pay off in the long run especially if you plan to use it consistently. If you are planning a postal campaign then good data is important.  The cost of postage outweighs the cost of most data.  You don’t want to be paying for returned items.


Renting data for email addresses will reduce the number of contacts.  Businesses are often looking for email addresses.  Email campaigns are relatively cheap to run but how cost effective are they?  Everyone is getting so used to email campaigns now.  Full In-boxes are becoming tiresome.  Even if the recipient is interested, time is short and the list of unopened emails seems to be getting longer and longer.


Postal campaigns may be more cost effective.  The time you get to engage a contact by email is seconds if that.  With postal campaigns you have the time “from the letterbox to the recycling bin” (a quote from David Bingle that made me smile) which could be a few minutes.  Small, focused, personalized postal campaigns may be the answer.

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