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Those Claiming You Shouldn’t Buy Lists Are Wrong (And Right)

When you evaluate the kinds of lists 98% of marketing firms have access to, they are correct in stating buying lists is a bad idea. However, that, in no way, makes conquest data acquisition a bad idea. It only points to a blind spot most marketing firms have when it comes to data; modeling. So instead of investing in smarter data technology, they simply tell companies it’s a bad idea.

We see this most often behind the closed doors of seminars and “breakout sessions” at conferences. A captive audience is told opt-in data is the only kind of audience their company can convert and that acquiring opt-in data is a strategy they should focus on. Sure, getting as many people to opt-in as possible is a great idea. But as a strategy in and of itself, it takes a long time to build a data set. Meanwhile, your competition is forging ahead, building relationships with prospects that have yet to sign up for your brilliant content.

The truth is technology has moved beyond them and their scope of skills, making it impossible for them to fathom there is a better, faster way to deliver real, quantifiable ROI on the marketing dollar. ROI is NOT the addition of 131 people to your list in a given month. At that rate, it will take years to build a list of targeted prospects you have a chance of converting into customers. These marketing firms only have access to baseline information like gender, age, geography, etc. So it makes complete sense that they would not advocate the purchase of data to jump start your campaign and deliver results from the very beginning.


“Not knowing how to acquire real-time targeted data is not the same as real-time data not being effective.”


Inbound marketing companies hate data acquisition. It goes against their entire scope of skills. Think about what that means to you. Inbound companies sell you the ability to drive traffic and get that traffic to opt-in by filling out a form of some kind. For some companies this is a great strategy and one we deploy when and where it makes sense. However, many companies do not have the type of business that can provide a palatable inducement for the opt-in.

Steel companies cannot give away steel to get the opt-in and healthcare companies are not allowed to give away anything for the opt-in. How many people are going to take the time and have the desire to read a newsletter about nursing homes? Not may, which leaves you with a very small list of opt-ins. But data… Data can fill this gap. We can leverage data to identify everyone with an elderly parent living within a reasonable proximity to the decision maker and a facility, acquire their contact information and append financial data to the data set for nursing homes. That is just one example.

At the end of the day, what marketers and business owners must understand is that there is no silver bullet. Retaining a firm that builds a customized digital strategy is mission critical for your success. That strategy must be largely based on the audience the business model. Everyone has the need to reach their targeted audience and any strategy must include a robust set of targeted contacts; however they are gathered. But to say acquiring data is not a good idea smacks of only having a single service to offer.