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How to buy a good marketing list? There are a number of factors involved in buying a customer list that’s fit for purpose. Check out our video for the main ones to consider to ensure your marketing campaign gets off to the best start possible.

How to buy a good marketing list for your lead generation? That’s a question our clients often ask us. The reason is simple. If you get it wrong, it could seriously derail your marketing efforts. So, what are the main criteria to consider? And, what aspects should you look at when evaluating which companies and contacts to target?


Turnover is important to some organisations, but not to all, when deciding whether the prospect is a good target. Ultimately, you need to get the right size of organisation for your campaign. There’s no point going for tiddlers if you need a multi-national or multi-site organisation to warrant the cost of your products or services.

Employee numbers

Maybe, the number of employees is a better guide to finding the right list for your business than turnover. Or, perhaps both are equally important. It may be that many of the particular company’s employees work on the road. If you offer handheld devices to help them do their job, maybe that’s important. But, if you offer office workplace services then it may not be pertinent. For example, The AA has a large number of employees but many are in vans all day helping customers with their vehicle breakdowns. Likewise, Debenhams has thousands of employees but a large proportion of work in retail stores.


Do customers need to be local for you to be able to service their needs? How far afield can the targets be located? Can you trade effectively overseas or do prospects need to be closer to home? We recently had a client that only wanted to work within the City of London and even to the extent that he only wanted HR managers companies in the Square Mile around Fleet Street. Equally, we’ve had clients that will work anywhere since they operate a remote service for customers. Do customers need to meet you before they buy? If so, how far are you and your sales team prepared travel?


Many businesses work in defined sectors while others don’t have industry specialisation. You can go for SIC (Standard Industry Classification) codes or simply look at different types of organisation. How the data is gathered and segmented depends on the list provider you select. There are lots of options and it makes sense to spend some time to identify the sectors that would be most likely to purchase your products and services.

Job Function

But it isn’t just industry that’s important. There’s no point in offering food hygiene services to someone who works in IT even if it’s in the sector you want. Therefore, you need to marry up the sector and the correct decision maker that might purchase your services. And, what level of seniority do you need? Most business people would say the more senior the better but it depends on the size of the company and the level of decision-making and budget authority. Equally, it may be that you need a service user, specifier or someone else within the organisation with the knowledge to understand the need for your services. They may be your ‘champion’s that will sell your solution through their company and be your primary point of contact. At the same time, they may not be the budget holder and you, therefore, need to decide where to target.

Buying from a broker

Many marketing managers buy data from a broker. Even with specialist brokers, there are some things you may want to think about. First, do they provide company lists or contact lists? In some companies, you may wish to speak to more than one decision-maker or influencer. However, in other cases, it may be that you just need one decision-maker per organisation. Purchasing just one contact per company keeps your costs down but, if you don’t know the best person to target, it may be sensible to buy multiple contacts so you can target them one by one until you find the right person.

Suppression for opt-outs

You must comply with your obligations under data protection and other regulations. Therefore, select a broker that routinely offers screened data when you buy the list. Even if the broker does this, don’t forget that you need to screen the data again for further opt-outs every 28 days. You can see how to do this here.


Clearly, the more data you order, the lower the cost may be. Most data providers have minimum charges and you may need to order large quantities to see any discounted prices.

Single or multiple uses

Cost will also be a factor in whether you go for a one-off use of the data, multiple use over 12 months or outright purchase. There are pros and cons for each option. If you’re planning lots of campaigns including via post, email and phone you may want to purchase the data outright or at least go for 12 months unlimited use. If it’s a one-off campaign and cost is an issue, then single use may be more appropriate for your needs.

Data is the lifeblood of any marketing campaign and getting it right will ensure you get off to a great start and avoid wasting time and money. So, make sure you devote sufficient time up front to identifying the right source of data for your needs. If you don’t, you’ll almost certainly find that you fail to hit your targets.

GSA helps businesses, large and small,  become more effective in their marketing and business development. We run outbound telemarketing campaigns into the UK, Europe and further afield. Also, with our experience, we provide telemarketing training to help sales teams improve their results.  If you’d like to know more, give us a call.


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