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The truth behind databases used for market research

Recent research by Verve has found that consumers are deliberately giving false information to brands, such as fake addresses, date of births and email addresses, concluding this is devaluing the databases brands work hard to collate.

The study, which surveyed more than 2,400 consumers, found that six in ten consumers intentionally provide brands with false information when submitting personal details online. Why? To protect their privacy and stop unwanted marketing. As a consumer I do understand these concerns first hand which highlights the fact that brands need to do a better job at explaining the benefits of us consumers supplying accurate data. clipboard

However, the study highlighted date of birth to be the most commonly given inaccurate information. This not only surprised me but stood out to me for many reasons. One of our recent projects in the membership sector relied heavily on the accuracy of the date of birth field in its database. We targeted members with different survey invites dependent on their age (and therefore perceived career stage) to personalise the email as much as possible to encourage survey participation. This technique proved essential as response rates significantly increased this year. Had the date of births been inaccurate, this technique would not have worked and could well have had a negative effect. 

Although what we do here at Research by Design is primarily B2B research, it got me thinking about the value of some of the databases we use for our clients. Yes, the audiences are very different to the consumers in Verve’s study, but the principles of a good database remain the same.

As well as the accuracy of information, it is vitally important to have an up to date database (information gathered/updated in the last 12 months), personalised email addresses (no ‘info@’ or ‘admin@’ addresses) and a named salutation rather than ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. Although our membership clients communicate regularly with their members, we still receive databases with blank email addresses, blank salutations etc. and databases that yield thousands of failed emails once the mailing has gone out.

I think this highlights the need for both member organisations and consumer brands to fully explain the benefits of supplying not just accurate data, but as much data as possible. From a research perspective the value of databases is key.

By Lauren Harris, Research Executive

This entry was posted in Membership, B2B, B2C, Respondents, Surveys, Databases, tagged Communication, Consumer, Trust, Responses and posted on July 22, 2015


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