What can direct marketers learn from the removal of a tree stump?

And the answer is: 'It's always best to find the right tool to satisfy your requirements, rather than simply use the implement closest to you.' For the full explanation please read on:

What can direct marketers learn from the removal of a tree stump?

And the answer is: ‘It’s always best to find the right tool to satisfy your requirements, rather than simply use the implement closest to you.’ For the full explanation please read on:

I once paid for an overhanging tree in my garden to be felled. After this work was professionally carried out I was left with a large stump. I recently decided to remove this stump myself, so I set about cutting the underground roots with the tools I had at my disposal.  

I had spades, drills, chisels, oscillating saws, crow bars and pry bars, plus other items. Yet, two hours later, the stump was stubbornly resisting my efforts. I had dug a sizeable hole, but was no nearer to removing the stump. 

I resorted to exploring the internet and discovered a tool called a ‘digging bar’. Fearing this might be an American item, I searched for it anyway and, sure enough, found one at a local DIY store. It was reasonably priced, so I went ahead and purchased one. In just a few minutes the tree stump had been removed and I was filling in the large hole that remained. The ‘digging bar’ was exactly the right tool for the job.

What did I learn?

If I had persisted with the tools I originally had, I may have eventually reached my goal ‘ but would have wasted more time and effort in the process. However, using the right tool made it so simple. I achieved my target comparatively quickly. 

This task made me think about direct marketing lists. There are a wide variety of them available in the marketplace, but it’s not immediately apparent which ones are best suited for which particular assignments.

Analysing a direct marketing list

Any item of structured data can seem like a direct marketing list. But what are the two things that set them apart? 1) Why was the data collected? 2) How was the data collected?

Why was the data collected?

There are many examples of lists being repurposed. Here are some of the most obvious ones: Statutory requirements (Companies House and other registers); Credit reference (Experian, Dun & Bradstreet and others); Magazine circulation; Exhibition attendees. If a list is not compiled specifically for direct marketing, then the goals have not been considered.

How was the data collected?

Data submitted for statutory requirements often fails to include useful information such as telephone numbers or email addresses. This information may have been added at a later date by the list’s owner, but this process can be complex, time consuming and, in some cases, prone to error.  

Some data lists can contain spurious details. Anyone using a magazine or exhibition list may have discovered people giving themselves the grand title of chief executive, when actually these are merely students seeking a free ticket or cheap subscription.

Data is now being ‘scraped’ ‘ or some would call it ‘harvested’ ‘ from the internet and then converted into lists. As we all know, online data may have been there ‘forever’ and is actually very out of date. This can lead to poor results from your campaign, and even complaints from unhappy recipients.

Legal concerns

Finally, you need to consider the legal implications of using data. General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which have been in existence for a few years, states you are responsible for any breach unless there is evidence to prove that you’re not. You need to undertake due diligence, which includes informing data subjects that their information will be used on marketing lists.

Just because someone has data in their possession, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s legal to use for marketing purposes. A recent decision in the UK instructed a large credit reference agency to stop providing data for direct marketing, as they had not satisfied all the necessary requirements for distributing it.

Finding the best tool for your direct marketing campaigns

Reputable data companies, such as Corpdata Limited, undertake telephone research to compile specific lists for direct marketing. All legal requirements are adhered to. By using Corpdata you will: Be legally safe, receive fewer complaints, enjoy better results and improve your return on investment.

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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