data brokers

A Simple Guide to Buying Business Data

A Simple Guide to Buying Business Data

With any data purchase, you can expect to see a variety of data selection criteria.

This will range from basic information such as industry and location, to more specific information such as turnover, number of employees, year established etc.

You need to ensure you choose the right criteria for your campaign

One way is to look at your existing customer base. Are there any commonalities, i.e. do you have a high percentage of manufacturers, or a large volume in one specific area? If you have, this will show you where your opportunities lie.

Adding to an existing database

A point to bear in mind is your existing database. When buying data, you don’t want to buy data you already have. So make sure you exclude your existing customers. First though, how clean is your data? It would be worth checking and possibly cleaning it before adding more data to it – this will ensure consistency and reliability (speak to us about our free data audit service)

The quality of data is paramount

Clean data is vital when buying business data

There are a number of questions you should ask

1. How is the data collected? Most business data comes from Companies House or from directories.

2. How is the data verified? The most accurate way is via telephone.

3. How big is the business database? This ensures you are getting a true representation of the total number of records available.

4. How frequently is the data updated? Updated on a rolling basis, monthly or yearly.

Also you need to establish what quality guarantees are in place for incorrect records or “gone aways”. There are always a going to be a percentage of errors held on any database therefore you need to know the tolerances.

What licence is offered when buying business data?

Most business data is supplied on a 12-month contract, requiring you to renew the licence annually, or delete it from your systems if not renewed (though any contacts who give you their permission to continue to market to them become yours at that time, so you need not worry about the licence any more). Some suppliers also operate a “Pay-As-You-Go” licence, which is useful for shorter-term campaigns. However, this usually works out to be more expensive for longer-term campaigns. If you’re buying business data, make sure to ask what licence purchase options are available.

The supplier

Data consultancy – a good data supplier will be able to advise you on the level and type of data required for your campaign, for free.

Run a count – letting you know how many records are available for the list you are interested in. Most counts are provided on the same day.

Delivery – Data is usually delivered within 24 to 48 hours of signing and returning your purchase order unless your requirements are complex.


The law changed in May 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations came into effect at that point. Whilst we have since left the EU, the rules still form the basis of UK law and even if that changes, they are a standard that you should consider ensuring adherence to when buying business data.

All reputable suppliers will be able to evidence that their data has been gathered, processed and supplied in a GDPR compliant manner. Make sure you ask them to give this assurance. But remember, it applies to you too, so you must also ensure you maintain the data in a compliant manner once you have taken possession.

For more help and advice, please call us on 01274 965411 or email us at [email protected]

You can trust Data Bubble with your direct marketing requirements, as we are members of the Chartered Institute of Marketing

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