Six Misconceptions about data – as told by a list broker

At Databroker, we talk to a lot of people about their marketing needs and how marketing lists can be a cost-effective way to engage with audiences old and new.

Every now and then we come across people who may not have had experience before with using purchased data lists (not a problem, of course). With that, however, can be some misconceptions about marketing lists due to inexperience and lack of knowledge.

Our very own, Tony White, has written the common misconceptions he's experienced whilst working within the data industry for over 15 years. If anyone can help debunk false truths, Tony is the man. Here are his 6 common misconceptions of data.

1. It's all GDPR compliant

This is a big no. Despite the introduction of GDPR in May 2018, there are still unscrupulous people out there selling non-GDPR compliant data, so never take this for granted when considering a data list. Always request proof of their credibility as a data supplier - are they DMA members? Are they ICO registered? Is their data sourced using the 'best practice' GDPR guidelines? Also, don't be afraid to ask to see their GDPR policy document. If they dodge any of these questions, then steer well clear!

2. A data list will not cure all sales ills

Many people think that purchasing a list will be the answer to all of their sales problems. Just buy a couple of thousand records and wait for the orders to fly in. Wrong! On average, only about 10-15 % of your target audience will actually open your email and even less (1-3%) will click on any links within your email.

So, please don't expect an avalanche of interest just because you've sent out an email and don't be too precious about your campaign and take it too personally when not many people open it or click on it - ask yourself, how many cold emails a day do you delete from your inbox without ever opening?!

Nobody has a divine right to expect a massive response to an email. To make your campaign successful, ensure that you have adequate resources to do follow-up calls to your openers and clickers. Get your subject line, content, and sales message right and do high-quality follow-up telemarketing calls. Data can open doors for you, but deals are won by people picking up the phone, not by email.


3. "All data lists are the same"

I hear this one all the time and people regularly have the misconception that all data lists are basically all the same so who cares where you buy the list from! WRONG! That's a bit like saying that all cars are the same - sure they all have four wheels, four seats, and a steering wheel but that's where the comparisons end! Data is no different.

Depending on you what you want, you may decide to buy a Volkswagen Polo or you may want a Rolls Royce! If you need the car to do the school drops during the morning rush hour, then the Polo is probably the best choice, right? Data works in exactly the same way, and we can identify any type of B2B list for you – whether it is a very general B2B data need or one of those very specific, niche-targeted campaigns. Just like cars, data list prices vary. Standard B2B data may start at around £200 per 1,000 records whereas very specialist premium data list can be £900 per 1,000 records - so make sure you get what you need and not what someone is trying to flog you.

4. Once I've purchased a list, I own the data, right?

Nope, wrong again. Since GDPR, all data is purchased under a data licence either for a single use or for a 12-month multiple-use campaign – you 'own' the data for that time period only. Should any contacts interact with you or proactively engage with you, then you can retain their records on a permanent basis. If a contact never responds to you or never interacts with you, then you must surrender any further use of their data record when your data licence expires.


5. I buy cheap data because all data lists are the same quality anyway

Wrong. Always ask your data supplier to provide written data quality guarantees against postal accuracy, telephone connectivity, and email delivery against hard bounces. Decent data will give you guarantees above 90% against all contact channels and the quality list providers will be only too happy to put this in writing for you. However, if you’re dealing with a cowboy data supplier, they will probably avoid building any quality guarantees into your terms and conditions. If that’s the case, stay away from them.


6. If I purchase a data licence, I can send as many emails as I want right?

No, not necessarily. Some data list owners put a cap on the number of emails uses permitted per cold contact during the term of the licence agreement. This is to protect their data integrity and to ensure that people are not emailed too often in line with GDPR best practices.

If you are purchasing a data licence with the intention of blasting out 3 emails a week to the list for a year, then a) you may in breach of your licence usage terms and b) you really shouldn't be buying a data list in the first place! Would you appreciate being bombarded with emails? No, you wouldn't right, so don't do it to other people!

So, next time you're sourcing data keep in mind that not everything is as black and white. Make sure to do your research and ensure that you aren't going to fall victim to these false truths.

Need help sourcing data for your next marketing campaign? Talk to the experts! Contact us today on 0161 941 5700 or email