Companies are struggling every day with issues around customer data, such as where to source up-to-date, accurate prospect lists, and how to validate and fix incorrect or incomplete customer contact records. Matchboard offers a quick and easy way to find suppliers to meet specific data needs, from sourcing phone, permission-based email, and mailing lists of businesses or consumers, to checking databases of thousands or even millions of customer records to ensure data integrity.
Business lists in Australia must be opt-in, permission-based, so it’s important to source lists from data providers with an unwavering focus on compliance. (Check the Government’s ACMA website for an overview of your obligations to comply with the SPAM Act.)
Since there are millions of businesses in Australia, it’s simply not cost-effective to buy a list of decisionmakers at every one of those businesses. A good starting point is to narrow down a target market by applying several criteria such as size of business, industry or sector, location and job role. Often it’s advised to test different combinations of criteria in small but statistically valid quantities, to find which segments yield the best results. You can then purchase more data for the combinations that deliver good ROI, and drop the combinations that don’t.
Sometimes a list does not exist off the shelf which meets your criteria, which is where a list company can help you build a list from scratch. This can include running surveys or competitions where people opt in to future contact as part of the terms and conditions of participating. Another approach is to build a list based on desktop research of relevant contacts – for example, a recruitment agency could research HR Directors in a particular city by using LinkedIn. This sort of research can be done cost-efficiently using offshore resources (in countries such as the Philippines), or with the assistance of third party LinkedIn automation tools.
If you’re marketing to Australian consumers, you can buy a database in the form of a telemarketing list, email list or mailing list, and contact prospects. This is one of the fastest, most direct approaches to the market which will enable you to quickly evaluate customers’ appetite for your product or service.
The possibilities for segmenting consumer data are infinite – not only can you specify basic demographic criteria such as gender, location and age, you can buy lists based on consumers’ purchasing history, hobbies and household income. In fact the clearer you are about your ideal profile customer, the less data you will need to buy and the more leads or sales you will convert.
Just as with B2B lists, consumer data is governed by the SPAM Act. And for telemarketing, it is absolutely critical to ensure the list is washed against the Do Not Call Registry, regardless of whether you are calling for research, fundraising or sales purposes.
Not all lists are equal, and one of the key differentiators in data sources is the frequency with which they are updated. Some companies only clean their data once a year, which is likely to produce a high bounce rate, meaning you are paying for a high percentage of records which are unusable. Always ask how recent the data is which you are buying.
What is the potential size of the Australian consumer database?
In Australia, there are approximately 22 million phone numbers (including land line and mobile numbers) which are accessible through list brokers and of course not listed on the do not call registry. In addition, there are some 6 million email addresses and almost three times as many mailing addresses.
What format are lists sold in?
Most lists are accessible in an easy to configure Excel or CSV file format. It is quite common for list brokers to embed a small number of false records in lists so they can monitor for unauthorised usage. For example, while some lists permit unlimited use, others are only available for a one or two-time use, or for use within a particular time interval, such as 12 months. Further, it is not permissible to copy and distribute lists, whether for commercial gain or otherwise. Make sure you are aware of your obligations.
Some lists are available instantly via self-service online, other lists are turned around in a day or two. Brokers will always request payment upfront before releasing data.
What is the difference between one list broker and another?
It’s true that many list brokers are accessing the same data sources for their clients, at a similar pricepoint. Therefore differentiation is in other areas, such as speed of service, expertise and guidance around which lists to buy to achieve business goals, and compliance. The latter should not be underestimated, as you are ultimately responsible for the data you use and how you use it, and a good list broker should guide you along the way.
Unfortunately there are many unscrupulous practitioners in the list industry: red flags include companies trying to sell you data in Australia when they aren’t based here; companies with no contact details on their email signature; companies who can’t tell you when records were last updated.