The Dangers of Buying Cheap Data

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Undoubtedly for many marketing professionals cheap data is an attractive proposition, offering a high volume of data for a low price. As marketers attempt to extract the greatest return on investment from their budgets, this approach is understandable. However, it’s important to realise that the risks of buying cheap data, far outweigh the benefits.

The Risks of Buying Cheap Data

The first risk associated with buying cheap data is the quality. Cheap data lists are riddled with problems, such as a high level of inaccuracy, a significant number of duplicate records and no real targeting in terms of matching the audience to your requirements. These reasons alone can make cheap data a false economy.

In addition to this, there are the campaign costs that are often not considered when sourcing cheap data. Poor quality data can lead to wasting budget in postal and telemarketing campaigns, with the funds being spent on ineffectual print, postage and packaging or the staffing costs of conducting a telemarketing campaign.

There is also a huge misconception that buying cheap email data will only actually cost the business the price of the data. In my experience however, I have heard of many potential issues emailing to a cheap list, such as negative effects on IT infrastructure following a broadcast, IPs being blocked and even websites going down.

Finally, there is a tangible risk to a business’ reputation when using poor quality, cheap data as a result of miscommunication with customers and ineffective targeting.

The Warning Signs that Data is too Cheap

As with many things in life, if it is too good to be true, it usually is and buying data is no exception. A truth within our industry is that good quality data is not sold cheap, as a supplier with a legitimate, high quality database has no reason to sell their data at a hugely aggressive rate.

Similarly, you should be wary if a supplier is quick to drastically cut the price of their data without an understanding of why you may require a lower rate. Generally speaking, suppliers of cheap, poor quality data will slash prices without question. Credible suppliers on the other hand are on the whole open to negotiation, but would expect to understand the business reasons behind the requirement for cheaper data, for example the current offering producing a CPA that is too high.

Finally, if the supplier does not offer services that deliver added value and are purely happy to provide a pre-prepared, high volume list at a low price, then this is likely to be another warning sign that the data is not worth purchasing.

How to Find a Reputable Supplier Checklist

  • Are they a member of the DMA or have any additional accreditations?
  • Do they provide testimonials and case studies?
  • Where is the data sourced from, how is it collated and how is the data kept clean and up to date?
  • Do they provide specific answers to your questions?
  • Can they drill into and segment the data they are supplying?
  • Do they enquire into your business, services, products and objectives? Helping them to match the most targeted and relevant data to the campaign at hand.
  • Do they ask about the channels needed for the campaign?
  • Is the data accurate, targeted and relevant to your needs?
  • Can they add value to the campaign in other ways than just supplying data?

Hopefully this blog has demonstrated that buying data should never be purely based on price. Quality is the determining factor in the value of data and is always worth considering if you want to extract the greatest returns from your campaigns.