B2C marketing has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent times and opposition to unwanted telemarketing in particular has fuelled a lot of negative media attention. For good reason many would say, but when sourced and managed responsibly with consideration to DMA best practices and ICO legislation, targeted B2C marketing can be an invaluable asset to any business that has the foresight and core integrity to do it properly.

Databroker have been at the forefront of industry best practice regarding B2C data for many years. We care a great deal about our clients and the importance of their credibility in the market place, so we ensure that we source our B2C data from ethical sources using reputable data owners who are DMA members and ICO registered.

Here, I’ve put together some of my ideas surrounding B2C marketing and I hope that you will find these useful if you are considering a B2C marketing campaign in the future.

As an independent and impartial data broker, we will not source B2C data lists in the following areas:

  • Gambling and betting
  • PPI
  • Personal injury
  • Debt management
  • Any age groups under 20
  • Any age groups over 60
  • Personal health related
  • Charities
  • Mobility
  • Wills and Funeral planning
  • Retirement homes
  • Pensions
  • Companies using automated voice broadcasting
  • Non TPS cleansed data
  • Race, religion or ethnicity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Non-regulated investments
  • Road traffic collisions
  • Flight delays/Cancellations
  • Financial statuses (credit history, debt history)
  • Call blocking services
  • Solar industry

The reason why we don’t provide data for the above list is because we consider these to be either unethical by definition or intrusive as much of the subject matter here is of a highly sensitive nature delves into areas that we don’t consider to be appropriate for marketing purposes. So, simply avoiding marketing involving any of the above areas would be a good step towards responsible B2C marketing – but let’s look at some additional considerations and recommendations.

1. Always source data through a credible source 

Whether you are going direct to a supplier or sourcing data through a broker, ensure that you understand where your data lists are coming from. Is your supplier or broker a DMA (Direct Marketing Association) member? Are they ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) registered? How do they source their data? Where does the information come from and how often is their data verified, cleansed and updated?

For example, how often are their lists checked against the telephone preference service (TPS), the mail preference service (MPS) and the deceased register? Any reputable organisation will be happy to discuss all of the above with you and demonstrate how their data is source and maintained. If the party you are considering sourcing data from cannot or will not impart this information, then simply do not purchase data from them.

Also, always ask for written guarantees on the performance of their data whether it’s postal delivery rates, telephone connectivity rates or email delivery rates – get some form of guarantee that clearly sets your expectation and underpins the quality of their data e.g. 95% delivery rate on emails against hard bounces with a 1 for 1 replacement on any records exceeding this threshold. Again, any credible supplier or broker will be happy to put this in writing for you.

Finally, don’t just be drawn in on price. If someone is offering you 50,000 consumer emails for £300, then you have to seriously question how credible the data is and how has it been sourced, verified and refreshed and of course what is the quality like. We all appreciate a bargain, but data that is so obviously cheap will inevitably be of a very poor quality, will not be well managed and maintained and will almost certainly damage your campaign – remember where data is concerned, quality is king.

2. Make sure you’re ICO Registered 

Before you consider purchasing B2C data for a marketing campaign, you should register your company with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Applying for registration is easy and you can contact the ICO directly in order to register. This is a key step in responsible B2C marketing and as an ICO registered organisation, this demonstrates your intent to use the data responsibly and in adherence to the law. This is a must for any business considering B2C marketing, as it demonstrates that you are serious about marketing responsibly and protecting the credibility of your business.

3. Profile match your campaigns to your target consumers 

This is key when sourcing a data list and the success of your campaign depends upon how well your supplier can match the profile of the consumers that you are seeking to target. If your profile is very broad, then consider what filters you can apply to narrow down your criteria. If you’re unsure of what options are available when building a consumer profile, speak to your supplier or broker and they’ll be happy to talk you through this to ensure that the profile is tailored to suit your requirements.

4. Make sure your supplier has carried out regular MPS checks 

Make sure that your supplier carries out regular mail preference service (MPS) checks on their data so you do not run the risk of receiving complaints and potential prosecutions due to sending postal marketing material to consumers who are registered.

5. Make sure your supplier has carried out TPS checks

Poor quality telephone data and the misuse of it by rogue organisations has resulted in B2C telemarketing getting a lot of negative publicity and for good reason. When using telephone data for B2C marketing, consider these points before you embark on your campaign.

  • Establish how recent the list is and when the contacts were last verified
  • Only contact one person per household – ensure that your supplier can confirm this.
  • Ensure that the list has been cleansed against the TPS register
  • Purchase a single use telephone licence only – there isn’t really any added value in paying more for multiple uses of the telephone numbers as people generally only require one phone call to establish if they are interested in your products and services or not. Bombarding people with excessive telephone calls is simply irresponsible and will inevitably lead to complaints and potential prosecution so simply do not do it.
  • Think about your call content and scripting. Don’t have your call centre staff saying asking personal questions about products or services your customers may have. This is far too bullish and intrusive and you are likely to get very little positive reaction from your audience because they immediately feel threatened. Think about a softer more engaging approach and it will yield better results.
  • Consider purchasing a small volume initially and use this as a pilot before committing to a larger volume of data. This will give valuable insight to the quality of the data and how well it fits to the profile you are seeking to market to. You can then consider whether you want to make any changes either to the data profile or to your telemarketing before embarking on a larger data purchase.

6. Ensure your mobile lists are HLR checked

  • Ensure that the list has been HLR (Home Location Register) checked. This is a check against the mobile network operators database and verifies that the contact name and address is associated with any given mobile telephone number is correct and hasn’t changed. When using mobile telephone data, always check with your supplier or broker when the data was last HLR checked. If it isn’t HLR checked they do not purchase the data as you will almost certainly encounter issues with a mismatch of names associated with any particular number.
  • If you are consider using SMS to mobile telephone numbers, check with your supplier that their mobile numbers are available for use with SMS specifically. SMS is a different licence agreement for mobile use than a mobile calling licence.

7. Check your email broadcasts have been fully approved by your supplier

When doing email broadcast you will need to consider these points before sending your campaign.

  • Ensure that the content and images etc. are suitable for public consumption (you should ideally share the content with the supplier and get it approved in writing)
  • Do not send more than 12 emails per year to the data – any more than this and you are beginning to hound your audience.
  • Ensure that your email has an unsubscribe link – this is a legal requirement for emailing to 3rd party purchased lists.
  • Ensure that your email content is vetted and approved by the data owner before sending out any content.
  • Ensure that your email content contains reference to where the data was source from i.e. name, address and telephone number of the data owner.
  • Manage opt outs and un-subscribers – after every email broadcast, provide your supplier with the list of the un-subscribers so that they can immediately update their records and ensure that you remove all un-subscribers from your list before sending your next email.

Responsible B2C marketing sits with you, the person using the data and it’s really important to manage your campaign in adherence with industry best practice as many of the points I’ve listed here reflect.
In summary, if you’re ICO registered, have a good data supplier or broker who are providing good quality data and you are using the data correctly supported by good marketing collateral, you have all of the ingredients required for a successful campaign.

If you deviate from these best practice recommendations, then you run the risk of damaging your company reputation and brand, receiving a lot of complaints from consumers you have contacted and even prosecution and heavy fines from the ICO for any breaches of data protection laws.

If you need help with your B2C marketing plans, please contact the Databroker team for free, independent and impartial advice.



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