• Tracey Twynham

You Need Data; Should You Buy a Contact Database or Build One?

It’s a perennial question – should you buy a contact database or build one?



For most average sales and marketing departments, customer contact data is the holy grail. Access to the right customer contact data enables better marketing success. For the average business, the perpetual struggle is “how do I build my customer contact database?”.


There are (really) only two options. You can either buy a contact database in the form of a mailing list or alternatively, grow your database naturally through a variety of tactical methods.  Award winning CRM solution provider Atreemo has written an insightful article about the pros and cons of each approach.


There are advantages and disadvantages of each tactic. Buying a list means you can specify your target audience, experiencing an instant boost to your marketing strategy. The downfalls include the potential cost and, if you haven’t tailored your list properly, the risk of targeting people who aren’t interested in your products and adversely affecting brand reputation.


If you take the natural growth approach there are similar advantages and disadvantages. Capturing contacts from your website, blog or adverts you should get higher quality data, not to mention the benefit of capturing contact data for people who have already expressed interest in your brand. However, this is a slow burn approach. It takes considerable time to build a list this way and it will likely be a small (though beautiful) list.


Small and beautiful in-house data lists sound great but can be time consuming and prone to inaccuracies. If leaning towards the self-build approach, consider how you are going to keep this list clean, current, and legislatively compliant. You’ll need a dedicated resource to look after your data and ensure you adhere to DP legislation at all times, especially with GDRP and ePrivacy looming. By outsourcing your data this responsibility rests with your supplier (although you should obtain reassurances they are working within the law!).


So, what’s the best approach? The solution is a combination of both. You could say we are sitting on the fence but we prefer to say we’re taking a measured approach! Nurturing a customer contact database results in high quality data and strong relationships. Buying a list from an expert data broker who has not only contact data but also purchasing history and current infrastructure (including renewals information), can give you a tailored, focused, and targeted database of contracts who are ripe for contacting.


What is undeniable is the affect the right data will have on your business. The right contact data will help you build trust and brand loyalty. Data-driven, account-based marketing is the key to brand stretch and the ability to nurture prospects from top to bottom of funnel.

Whatever your chosen method, consider the GDPR and ePrivacy regulations – ensure that either consent has been obtained from individuals in your data set or that legitimate interest applies, If buying data, use an accurate, comprehensive IT industry database from a reputable data supplier which regularly cleanses its data.


Once you have your data set, the tips will take your marketing campaign to the next stage;

  • Invest in an intelligent data management platform that manipulates data for precise targeting

  • Consider telemarketing, but make sure the agents are well briefed and technically competent to be effective ambassadors for your brand

  • Focus on data-driven, personalised marketing for best results

  • Deploy a seamless method of distributing sales leads once qualified, so your sales team can get on with its job without delay

As the old saying goes “good things come to those who wait”. CPB agrees, but we also agree with Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web who stated: “Data is a precious thing”. Buying the right segmented and targeted contact data to support your account-based marketing approach shouldn’t be underestimated. And neither should its impact on your bottom line!

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