MailerLite email marketing for small business
ArticlesProfiled data records

A marketer’s guide to purchasing better quality cold data in South Africa

6 Mins read

Thanks for connecting with us.

As data lead suppliers we are also customers of database owners. Over a decade of dealing with data we had personal experiences that has helped us to make better decisions Today.

The reality is that selling data is a lucrative business opportunity. There is no physical product, so it is easy to distribute and it is always in demand by businesses for sales. Like any industry, you have your ethical suppliers and you also have businessowners trying to make a quick buck.

The problem is unless you have experience in dealing with data and know what to look out for, you have a high risk of dealing with the later.

To help you we would like to share some of our experiences with you and guide you to find ethical suppliers.

Our journey with data started in 2011. We met an ethical supplier that offered us the opportunity to sell their database. The data was clean and accurate and worked so well for our clients. The excellent return on investment for companies made us realize the potential in this market and we decided to expand.

Searching for more data owners started our schooling in unethical dealings. Our search started on google and in those days, Gumtree was the go-to site for data listings. You googled data for sale, and you ended up with multiple listings on Gumtree. We had success on Gumtree for connecting with great clients, so it gave us confidence to trust the data suppliers. Initially their adverts checked out. They also fed us all the information we wanted to hear to get us to trust them. Yet after payment was made, we ended up disappointed. We had to wait days to get our order, many times after threatening legal action. Most times the data we received was not what we ordered, and the worst was when we tried to use it and recoup some losses, the list was full of complainers.

Every single one of these suppliers were told about our plans. We had clients who needed to order data consistently. If they provided quality data and a proper service, we would have an opportunity to build a relationship and do more business together. One would think that this would-be motivation to live up to expectations, but in South Africa it falls on deaf ears. These suppliers do not worry about future business because their goal is to resell one database to as many clients as possible. They invest once and then earn handsomely from reselling the database at a cheap price to their victims.

Fortunately, the consumer protection act helped Gumtree to clean up their website. They no longer allow the sale of leads but this has not stopped the black-market operation that destroys the industry.

Sadly, now many of these suppliers have set up what looks like an ethical website. Some have even registered with authorities to set up a “smoke screen” so you think they are legit. At the end of the day what counts most is what is in these business owners’ heart. They do not have your best interest at heart, they are not worried about your investment and return. They see your money as an opportunity to make a quick sale and when they have your money, they move onto their next prey.

How to avoid data scams and find better quality cold leads

After being repeatedly scammed, we developed some principles for making better purchasing decisions. Since following them our data has improved and we have also established a trusted name in data supply. Most of our new clients are now referred to us from our current happy clients. This shows that our good values and ethics are the key to finding the right lead source for your business.

1. Avoid buying from websites and online sources without a reference

Salespeople are good with communication and words. They will tell you what you want to hear to get you to trust them. If you do not have a personal reference from someone you trust in business, rather avoid the transaction. Our current suppliers were referred to us, we did not find them online. We have worked together for over 5 years and have a solid relationship built on trust. Having one or two solid channels is far better than having a panel of suppliers ready to sell you junk. Ask for references from colleagues in your industry that you know you can trust because they will give you the best contacts.

2. Look for marketing agencies that supply rather than list brokers

Marketing agencies have the skill of generating leads from cold data. They are actively using the data for campaigns and will have better insight into what works and what doesn’t. They also have used the data for their own campaigns and can vet the source before supplying you. On the other hand, when you buy from a company that just sells data, you are dealing with a data broker. List brokers sell data like a commodity- it’s a hot selling product and all they do is move lists. Most of them have no experience in marketing, they are sales consultants that found a hot moving product. They are also only in the business of moving data so they will tell you what you want to hear, not what is correct. Our current data suppliers are marketing experts with years of experience.

3. Use suppliers registered with the direct marketing association

This is important to protect your investment. If you deal with a member of the DMASA, you have a body to complain to. You can lodge a complaint with the direct marketing association against a member. We have used this to our advantage, and it has helped us deal with ethical business owners in marketing. From 1 July all data suppliers must be members of the DMASA to comply to POPIA regulations. DMASA members have access to the national opt out list that they check to avoid complaints. This has helped us tremendously in our business. Our complaints from cold data are minimal and it is all thanks to using the opt out list. We recommend you deal with DMA members to protect your brand as well.

4. Avoid cheap data prices (10c, 15c, 20c, ect)

Cheap data records in volume sounds attractive but that is all it does for your business. We spent 3 years focusing on this cheap market and it was just disappointment after disappointment. The demand for cheap data is there, but the problem is the supply. From our experience 99% of the lists, you get will burn your budget and resources. More data means more staff to call, more sms credits, dialer programs and number verification. These are some of the tools you need to spend on to get value from the data. Most businesses start with cheap data to learn that less quality data is the winning recipe. Why burn through records and waste money when you can buy exactly what you need and use less resources.

Cheap data has a contact rate of 30%. The list broker will tell you otherwise but when you use the data you will see yourself what your stats are. Our data owners guarantee 70% contact rate on our data so for every 1000 records you buy you know 700 records will be accurate and contactable. If you buy cheap data, you may be getting volumes but for every 1000 records you only get 300 records to work with.

The problem is you do not know which ones are contactable, so you waste resources finding them.

Another point to mention is if you look at the cost of marketing to get new data in, it is impossible to find someone for 10c. You must use your logic here and realize that this is not fresh data. No company would sell their client details to anyone for way less than it costs to generate. They are not in the business of being a charity organization so your business can excel at sales. From our bad experiences we have realized that most cheap data is stolen data. Yes, staff working for these businesses have established a sideline business with data brokers. They have access to the information and sell it illegally to make extra money. As much as it is tempting to save on cost, the risks are detrimental to your business. This is why we have the Popia act so companies can have better control over data.

5. Comply with the Popia act

If you buy data now you should be signing a legal agreement to track your data usage in terms of the law. When you deal with a supplier that does not follow Popia legislation it is a warning sign that they are not compliant.

It took us many disappointments and losses to help us find our way around the data industry. We hope that this article can help you to make better decisions so you can avoid the mistakes we made.

If you choose to work with other data suppliers, please keep this in mind and do your due diligence. Also request correspondence in writing so you have evidence to use in a case. The only way to stop data corruption is to work together and keep reporting perpetrators. One complaint will not do much, but multiple complaints from different sources can put an end to corruption.

To learn more about the data that we supply you can visit

Related posts

POPIA update: Get ready for 1 July 2021

2 Mins read
Compulsory compliance with the POPIA act is around the corner. We are busy working with the updated information to get our organization… Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
ArticlesDebt industry

How loan decline data can improve your Facebook marketing

5 Mins read
When I speak to debt clients about a loan decline market I often sense a lack of interest. Debt counsellors are reacting… Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
ArticlesFinancial advisers

How financial advisers can generate better appointments

4 Mins read
Eighty percent of new financial advisers that connect with me has had a prior bad experience with appointment bookings. When I hear… Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ArticlesDebt industry

How loan decline data can improve your Facebook marketing