When did buying data lists get so complicated? 5 key questions and things to consider when buying da

There are some key things that you must consider and ask your list broker before you make that final decision to purchase a new list of data:

1. Do you want to include public sector and government organisations? If not, then you must specify that these should be excluded, or the list of B2B organisations you thought you were going to get will be littered with NHS hospitals, schools and government departments. Of course, if the public sector is your target audience, you will be asking for Public Sector only and will need to exclude all commercial organisations.

2. Are you planning on running an email campaign to the list? If so, you’re going to need email addresses. But you must be very specific again here. It’s not enough to just say you would like the senior decision maker from a specified group of organisations and their email addresses please. You need to say that you want their ‘named’ email address or some call it their ‘personal’ email address. If you don’t specifically state that you want a named email address you will receive a whole bunch of generic email addresses along the lines of and, which is of no use for a targeted email campaign whatsoever.

3. The next criteria to specify is that you would like single site or head office locations only. This is particularly relevant if you are including the retail and retail banking sectors in your count. If you don’t specify single site head office then you will end up with numerous branches that are again of no use if you are targeting a department which only resides in the head office location. But again, if you don’t specify you will be left with a list that will fall far short of your expectations.

4. This one is normally carried out automatically now, but is worth noting and checking when you are selecting your data. Make sure that all the telephone numbers have been checked against TPS, the Telephone Preference Service. There will then be a note in your data list next to the numbers that cannot be cold-called. If you are using an external telemarketing company then they normally have a phone system which automatically checks numbers against TPS and prevents them from calling them: Useful criteria worth noting if you are seeking external telemarketing support.

5. And finally, how often and how long can you use the list for. Typically there are two types of licence – single use and a 12 month unlimited use. The single use version is cheaper, but can only be used, as the name suggests, once. The 12 month unlimited use licence allows you to email the data as many times as you want during a 12 month period. At the end of the 12 months you can then choose to update the data and this is usually cheaper than re-buying the whole list. Although it seems restrictive to only be able to buy a list for 12 months use, you do get to keep all the contacts that you ‘interact’ with during your email campaigns. So if you receive responses to your emails, or get any click-throughs then that data becomes yours to keep and re-use after the 12 month cut-off. When the 12 months is up, the data is probably starting to go out of date anyway, and a refresh will revitalise the data and save you sending too many emails to ‘gone-away’ email addresses.

And then there are some things to remember when you actually send the email campaign itself to try to ensure it actually reaches the intended recipient, but that’s for another blog. Watch this space!