Data is king

How to make certain the data you rely on is relevant, up-to-date and legal.

Data is king

How to make certain the data you rely on is relevant, up-to-date and legal. 

We’ve all become used to the phrase ‘guided by the data.’ Since the outbreak of Covid-19, and subsequent Government lockdowns, these words have been trotted out many times by various cabinet ministers and their advisors. But the truth is, for those involved in direct marketing, this has always been the case.

Company owners and direct marketers are always keen to learn about returns on their investments, and are forever keeping track of relevant data. Achieving this isn’t difficult, and you don’t require experts to help you gain a good appreciation of how direct marketing can satisfy your needs.

This latest feature, brought to you by Corpdata, highlights how monitoring results is important. This article will suggest low-impact methods for tracking results, while explaining how the three key factors of direct marketing are ‘the message‘, ‘the medium‘ and ‘the list‘.

Test your plans

Testing ‘the message‘ and ‘the media‘ is normally a single combined operation. Many email platforms allow you to undertake what is called ‘A-B’ testing of various components within your email. These include copy, images, and even landing pages.   

‘A-B’ testing compares results from one version against another. To make the most of this, you will need to send a reasonable number of test emails to understand which components work best in combination. And when you have your messaging correct, this will pay for itself in the results from your main campaign.

The same can be achieved when campaigning via the UK’s postal network. There are several excellent digital print providers across the country, whose content is just as dynamic as its email equivalent.

In many ways, telemarketing is the most granular of all. Many telemarketing agencies have significant experience working with products or services similar to yours. And they will guide you effortlessly through some of the early challenges. 

Never underestimate the benefit of having one of these companies carry out a systematic review of phrases and approaches. It will maximise results while helping your own staff members to learn from experience.

It’s also vital to remember that you do not need to be bound by any one medium. Although the cost of messaging via email appears attractive, the response can sometimes be disappointing.   

Telemarketing, on the other hand, is normally expensive but often delivers very strong results. Some products lend themselves to being advertised via email, while others fare much better with human interaction. It’s rarely obvious or straightforward, but testing the media will rapidly identify problems from which all companies learn.

Using lists legally

New data protection laws came into force in 2018, placing the burden for legal compliance squarely on your shoulders. People must be made aware how their personal data is being processed, and whether it may be included in any company’s list or lists. This is a huge topic but you have to prove that you are ‘in no way responsible’ for anything that may go wrong. This means maintaining records and understanding about the source of the data.

Targeted lists 

Lists produce large quantities of desired results when accurate and kept up-to-date. It’s so important to legally have the correct contact details of relevant people who are, in many ways, the ‘decision makers’ when it comes to purchasing your product or service. Lack of maintenance will severely impact on the accuracy of your list. Errors may have crept in, because people will have changed addresses, or switched jobs, or are sadly no longer with us. Yet accurate data is never enough on its own. All lists must contain relevant ‘decision makers’. If you want to sell computers or software, you need to contact a ‘decision maker’, not merely someone who works in an IT department.

Old in-house data

Any list you currently own will prevent further direct costs. However, there could still be problems when trying to use it. Any data collected before 2018 may not be totally legal. In-house lists are often not adequately maintained, and may not have originally been collected for use in marketing purposes. Therefore, such lists may contain what we describe as ‘unproductive data’. The key is to make all in-house lists compliant with the new data protection laws. This data will need to be cleansed to maximise its productiveness. Sometimes, however, trying to cleanse this data in-house can be costly and not time-effective. The more rapid solution to this problem is to seek third-party lists.

Third-party lists

These will cost, but is better for your company’s long-term health. Explain your products and/or services, and discuss your usual audience. With this information to hand, the company offering third-party lists should quickly be able to tell you what legally collected data they have available ‘ and all within an hour of originally contacting them. All data acquired third-hand needs to be accurate, up-to-date, and contain relevant ‘decision makers’. Those who supply these lists should remove any duplicated data free of charge. Although a third-party list should be strictly legal, this is not always the case. Please satisfy yourself that it is, before paying the provider any fees. Research the provider’s website to understand their approach and compliance with data protection. And then ask them the following questions: click here.


Compare different third-party lists, and even check them against your own data. Send a few emails, post a handful of flyers, and even make some phone calls. Then measure the response you receive. But caution, as some third-party list providers will seek to offer you an unrepresentative sample. Please don’t accept this. Tell them what you want, choose an area you know well, and critically evaluate the data and feedback you receive. And don’t forget, when you are ‘guided by the data’, you can significantly improve your results.

This article comes courtesy of Corpdata Limited, specialists in legally-compliant B2B marketing data that you can trust to give you exceptional results


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