Something smells fishy

The world of data is a strange one and there are as I have already said a lot of Dick Turpins out there waiting to rob you just so they can cut a deal.


I have spent years dealing with data as an independent advisor not as a data owner so I know when something smells fishy and it’s time you listened up before putting your budget with what might be an unscrupulous data owner.

When you see words like ‘new consumer data fresh to the market’ or ‘exciting new data source’ don’t be taken in too quickly. What has always amazed me is how many advertisers are taken in and think they know it all so simply purchase data directly from the data owner without carrying out any intelligent checks. A lot are simply taken in by the sales person.

Let’s suppose you were going to buy a second hand car, data is also second hand by the way there is no such thing as new data. So you are going to buy a second hand car. Do you buy it without test driving it?, do you buy it without having someone look under the bonnet to see what makes  it tick?. At the very least you should either take someone with you that understands engines or pay a small fee and get one of the fifth emergency service representatives to go with you. If you don’t then on your head be it when your gaskets fall out (what ever they are) That is why Data or List Brokers came about. They are independent and do not own data, instead they look at the market and give you the low down on where the data really came from, who the cowboys are and who is the real deal. They don’t even charge you, they are free for goodness sake. They earn their fee from a commission earned from the data owner. They have to do a great job for you because they want you to come back and use them again, it’s what pays their mortgages and keeps them in sack cloth.

If you do decide that you are so trusting of the data owner and think that you know it all and make the decision that you will judge for yourself then at least go and see how the data is actually collected. Go to the source and see it with your own eyes. This might surprise you. Let me give you an example. There is one particular data owner that spouts off that they have exciting new consumer data. I can’t name them for legal reasons but they are just north of London, anyhow I digress. They say the data is collected fairly and daily by telephone. I have been to the offices and what do you think. They have another business on site,  as well as being a data merchant they also have dozens of people on telephones making annoying phone calls to consumers. You know those annoying bloody calls you get all the time from brainless idiots that completely ignore your privacy and are just out to do a deal whatever that might be. Then this data is modified to add other selective criteria to it based on assumptions, viola!! New and exciting consumer data now available at around £150 per thousand records. I wouldn’t touch it with yours.

Add to that some of the greasy sales people that I have met representing some of these cowboys and that’s another story. As soon as I see the Patek Philippe watch and the crooked smile I feel as though I am dealing with a dodgy car salesman. These people push their data simply for profit there is zero intelligence and zero integrity. When they start saying things like ‘cut you a deal’ or ‘close the sale’ they are more concerned with their monthly bonus than they are with your response rates, whether you are using the data for direct mail, lead generation, tele sales it doesn’t matter. Once the  grease monkey has shaken on the ‘deal’ he is out the door and couldn’t give a damn because he’s moving on to the next mug. They are little better than the drug funded on line gambling data thieves I know because I’ve had to meet with these people in my own research and it takes a long time to wash their slime from your hands. (See Justin Timberlake in Runner Runner 2013)

The data business in the UK is a multi million pound industry, much of the investment now coming from overseas Asia and India in particular. These investors are not interested in your advertising campaigns. They are only interested in quick bucks, increasing their EBITDAR’s and company acquisitions. So it’s not always about the cost or the best deal it’s about trust, integrity and intelligence.

Data forms a huge part of the advertising spend don’t spend foolishly consult an expert it will always pay dividends in the end. I know because I am one of the best experts you could consult. So if you think that because I have been around a long time that makes me a bit of a dinosaur, well wouldn’t you rather deal with that than a shark!!


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