Buying data is often a minefield. There’s so much choice, there’s so much jargon, there are so many regulations and as data is intangible it’s almost impossible to understand what you’re actually buying.

A common misconception is that it is the data supplier’s responsibility to ensure that the data they are selling is compliant. It is in fact the CLIENT’S responsibility as a data processor to make sure that they have conducted thorough due diligence and to be able to evidence this to the regulators.

Post may 2018 responsibility will lie at director level (rather than company level). Directors will be liable for personal fines of up to 500k euros for non compliance. Sure, this should help clean up our industry and will in theory stop fly by night companies re appearing under new brands whilst also pressurising diligent companies to uphold stricter standards- thus protecting the consumer.

With this in mind, are YOU confident that the data you are buying, and the companies that you’re buying from are diligent enough to protect you?

As data planners, campaign managers and buyers we engage in data sales as well as data purchase. Acting as both client and supplier for many companies we feel your pain! We have condensed our experience into 6 top tips to help you recognise the good guys from the bad and how to protect yourself when buying data lists and marketing data.

• Do your homework
– What are you actually buying? Not all data is equal. Is it fresh, second use? (what recency is second use), how old is the list, when was it last updated and by whom?
– How was it generated?- telephone, survey, online, formfill, transactional
– how recent is it? (since first opted in)

• Ensure you check the data compliance

– Who are you actually buying from?
– Are they operating under current legislation AND do they even understand the rules?
– Will their data stand up post May 2018 (when the new General Data Protection Regulation is enforced)
– What permissions do they have to sell the data? Is it sector specific or is the data company reliant on 3rd party permissions. Do they have permission by contact channel?
– What checks are done on the data? is it TPS screened, mortis screened, PAF validated, checked for gone aways or are the numbers verified?
– Is it consented & have you seen proof in the form of privacy policies, scripts, call recordings or fair processing notices?
– Have you conducted due diligence? a form whereby the company warrants that the information they are providing is accurate

• Industry accreditations
What accreditations do they have, if any?- Accreditations are a key factor to look for when choosing a suitable data company. ICO membership is crucial of course but are they regulated by the MOJ (Ministry of Justice) or the DMA (Direct Marketing Association). This simply means that these companies are subject to strict, frequent and often intrusive audits and tighter regulation. This will give you better peace of mind knowing that they have opened the cupboards to auditors who have examined their compliance procedures thoroughly.

• Don’t buy cheap

Holding, Protecting, re permissioning and cleansing data costs money and so do the industry registers, technology and suppressions that are required to do the job properly. Be very wary of companies offering ‘cheap data’. If it sounds too good to be true, in our industry it most definitely is. Cutting corners will cost much more in the long run in terms of having to buy twice, or even resulting in fines. Make sure you know what you’re buying. It’s not worth the risk.

• Don’t believe everything a sales person tells you
Every sales person will tell you that the products they are selling are the best thing since sliced bread … until they move companies the very next week and as if by magic their new offerings are even better. The proof is in the pudding. What do they even mean by ‘better’? Do your own due diligence on the company. You really should know exactly who you are dealing with.

• Does the company understand your business and your needs?

Has the sales person adequately understood your needs and your business? This can be make or break for your campaign. Choosing the wrong selections from a data set is more than often the difference between success and failure and disparate results across sources. Spending time giving your chosen data partner all of the information required means that they can often offer you a much more tailored or bespoke solution that will give you the best ROI.

We would love to find out more about your company and how we could help, contact us today for more advice or information on or call 01924802220

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