Lists Spotlight: 4 Tips to Improve Your Data Card QualityJune 1, 2011 By Melissa Ward
Any list professional worth his or her salt knows that data cards are just a starting point in doing list research, but that doesn't mean their role is inconsequential to list managers and list owners.
To the contrary, inaccurate and incomplete information on a data card could affect whether it gets included in list recommendation or aggravate a list broker who, upon further investigation, finds some key details about the list source have changed. With all the competition for list rentals out there, who wants to gain a reputation for spotty data cards?
To maintain a high degree of quality list information for brokers and marketers, list marketing/research services provider NextMark, based in Hanover, N.H., has developed a ranking of list managers that use its data card publishing tool called the NextMark Top 50. The data quality report publishes quarterly, and the latest edition was released in mid-April, detailing information for 1Q 2011.
The individual data card quality scores are the basis for the Top 50 rankings. According to Chris DeMartine, director of business development, the scores are reported in aggregate for each media manager and calculated based on each data card's completeness and recency to include the following: the recency based on last update data and update frequency, or next update timing; population of universe, base price, primary market, media channel, descriptions, source, segments, selects, outputs, geography, categories; and contact information. Each of these components is weighted based on importance to media brokers when making list and program purchase decisions.
After a little more than three years of publishing the Top 50 data card quality report, DeMartine noted that the overall quality of data cards is improving and the variety of media channels continues to expand. The report shows that 87 list firms received a score of 90.0 or greater for data card quality, with 25 of those firms—like Worldata, Paramount Lists, Inc., eTargetMedia.com and DATALINE—achieving a perfect score of 100.
"More managers are beginning to offer high-definition profiles on their data cards, and integrate the update and count request processes directly with the service bureau," states DeMartine.
In comparison to the 1Q 2010 report issued last April, a number of the top list managers have made vast improvements to their data card quality. In the group for 500-plus titles, Worldata moved from No. 17 in the past year to No. 1. In the group for 100-249 titles, ConsumerBase made the largest jump, from No. 50 to No. 2. And in the group for 50-99 titles, NCRI List Management moved from No. 31 to No. 1.
To improve their data card quality, DeMartine offers the following tips to list managers:
- Keep your data card up to date based on your update frequency. For example, if your file updates monthly at the service bureau, be sure to update the segment counts and profile on the data card in accordance with that schedule. If your service bureau is a Certified NextMark Integration Partner, then your data cards can be updated automatically from the service bureau.
- Provide a robust description. The description of the data card should clearly define the audience. It is also good to indicate what offers the list may work well for, but even more important to explain the rationale for why the list works well for those offers.
- Be sure to include at least one contact. It is best to include both an account representative (sales contact) as well as a primary contact for count requests and orders. The email address and direct phone extension should be included for each. Avoid using generic email addresses like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Specify available segments. Be sure to properly identify segments and selects with the associated pricing. This will not only promote your lists and media programs more effectively, but will also make it easier for list buyers to include this information in their custom recommendations and to place orders efficiently.