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Buying and Selling Data – Your Business’ Success Partner

January 13, 2016Category : Blog

In today’s online world, millions of users are using internet for a wide range of activities – from as small as searching meaning of a word, to enabling a complex concept successfully. With increasing internet usage and awe-inspiring rise of social media, the number of companies looking to utilize the value of this channel is rising substantially. It has elevated the interest of business owners to use data for multiple purposes such as:

  1. Extract data for smart business strategy
  2. Understand market demand and segmentation
  3. Tailor the product to meet the consumer expectations in order to increase revenues

As is evident, these crucial success metrics enabled by buying and selling of data to study market pulse is vital in driving the corporate fortunes in the future. This helps bring in the ‘intelligence’ in your marketing and business decisions.

The changing face of enterprise data

Although, there is a plenty of data available for research, it is in its raw format and is available as disparate sources in diverse formats. Therefore, it needs various levels of processing to transform this raw data to intelligent data for better decision making. There are various data providers with the required expertise in this domain, who crawl data and put it up for sale. There is a wide range of data available which can be utilized to increase revenue and profit of your business. Thus, data for business growth is readily available if your approach is right and expected outcome is clear.

Data buying & selling and how it works?

You need to be updated about current market trends, consumer demands and behavior, and the technologies trending, in order to grow your business. However, with world changing faster day by day, market trends are also changing at a frantic speed. Hence, the frequency of tracking changes in the market has increased drastically. Consequently, data for the analysis also needs to be procured rapidly in order to avoid becoming stale. We strongly believe that analysis is only as accurate as the data used as an input for the same. Getting the right sample and quality data are of utmost importance. Hence, it needs required expertise and dedicated resources aligned to it.


Buying data

The upward surge in the demand for data has resulted in growth of quite a few data providing firms catering to this need. They sell you appropriate data to satisfy your analysis need. However, there are certain basic aspects you need to be mindful about. Data is gathered from various sectors such as consumer, business and public. Hence, along with accuracy of the data, you also need to take care of data collection period. Getting old data can be irrelevant even if it meets the quality. Getting real-time quality data is something you should aim for while purchasing the data.

Data is used as an input for multiple purposes and then process it and analyze it to take important business decisions. There are various types of data available to a business today:

  • A sample which you want to interview to get better insights for your research
  • Structured and unstructured data scraped from various websites including strategic data, merchandise website data, or social media data
  • Demographic data such as Name, Address, Contact details, Education, Occupation, Hobbies etc. of customers for marketing endeavors such as segmentation and targeting
  • List of email IDs of consumers for sending promotional emails
  • Phone numbers of consumers for cold calling or marketing messages

A sample could be general population of age 18+ years old or it could be physicians with certain qualification. The cost of procuring the sample varies on the basis of availability and qualification criteria of the sample. As a general rule, a low availability and a high qualification criteria of a sample makes it expensive.

Data providers take your sample requirement, timeline and budget as input and pull data through various modes and methods like using panel’s databases, scraping a website, sending invite links to registered users of a website etc.

There are certain points you must take care of before buying a sample:

  • First and foremost, you need to be precise about the objective of buying data, like, why do you want to buy data? What type of data you are looking for and how it will help you meet your ultimate research or lead generation or marketing objective? What is your budget for data purchase?
  • Furthermore, list down various data providers who sell the type of data you need. It will let you to compare their features as well as prices and help you strike a reasonable deal.
  • Determine precise qualification criteria for the data you are going to use for your analysis. This is very crucial as there is a cost associated with the size and type of data list or sample. The more specific you are in defining the requirements, the more targeted sample you’ll be able to obtain.

E.g. Your survey needs respondents to be 18+ years old and have used a product, e.g. a sunscreen lotion, in the past 3 months. You’ll not get sample satisfying exact criteria. Hence, you need to give additional inputs like demographic region. Respondents from region with less sun exposure may not pass these criteria, thus resulting in high dropout rate and low incidence rate. Make sure you test the credibility of the data by asking for a small trial and see how it comes up in terms of quality and relevance

Selling data:

Like buyers, sellers also need to adhere to certain standard practices to thrive in the business.

  • You need to study what type of data is required for a type of business. With so much of information floating around, you need to be precise and distinctive about the data you are planning to sell. Nobody would be ready to pay for something which can be easily procured or is freely available. Hence, you need to understand your market demand for selling the data.
  • Furthermore, you need to have a feature list of the data you are selling. As there would be competitor data providers, you need to be specific about what sets you apart from them – be it quality, versatility, or volume.
  • Also, the data you are trying to sell should be authentic and not lead to any legal breach. For example, the data which may put human life in jeopardy must be authenticated, or else legal complications may arise.
  • You need to ensure you are equipped with required technology and expertise to extract the data. Buyer request for data may need extensive technical skill set as well as domain knowledge. You should be able to leverage and justify the cost of the resources and selling price of the data.
  • Providing real-time data in multiple data points and segments can distinguish your business from others.
  • Quality and quick turnaround time are two basic and most essential requirements to thrive the business. Therefore, developing a metric to track these 2 parameters can serve as your performance measurement system as well as help you improve your customer servicing competency.


How to buy good quality data?

Determining the quality of the data is very subjective to the needs. Hence, you need to have an extensive checklist in place to verify the accuracy of the data at various levels i.e. Pre, During, and Post data purchase.

Before buying data, you should understand

  • how the data is acquired
  • what method and/or technology is used
  • what are the measures put in place to ensure the accuracy of the data
  • how recent is the data collection
  • what is the degree of quality checking done

In case you are buying a sample which needs to be interviewed for data collection purpose, verify the opt-in data. This will allow you to check if all the contacts in the mailing or caller list have given their permission to be contacted for survey purpose.

Also, check how latest is the data verified and updated, if all the details in the list are still valid or anything is changed or any contact is deceased. E.g. demographic data such as education degree, marital status, residential region etc. are subject to changes and hence it is very imperative to validate the data periodically.

One of the ways to verify if a data supplier adheres to industry standards and best practices is to check Membership of the Direct Marketers Association. Member companies are known to provide ethical and responsible marketing based on data.

To wrap up

Understanding consumer behavior was never as open as today with so many online retail websites, social media being available where a user doesn’t need to pretend and hence helps in reflecting true behavior. This definitely is helping to bridge the gap between customer demands and service providers. And what better way to do this than by buying or selling data to ensure that your company remains profitable in the long run.

Overall, the significance of data is very high for any business to endure and prosper. Including the buying and selling of data in your marketing and operational process will provide you the impetus to gain an unbeatable competitive edge. However it entails a few necessary checks such as

  • Proper planning,
  • Quality assurance measures, and
  • Process oriented approach

Following this will help you to get maximum from the business data trading business.

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