The business data universe within the UK is suggested (by different data list brokers) to comprise anything from 1.5 million to 5 million records. Both of these extremes can be professionally justified, so just how many business data list records are there?
The best place to start is with the larger figure of five million records. Two million of these are usually additional contact names. For example, if there were exactly one million businesses in the UK (and each business had exactly five contact names) then this particular list broker would be suggesting to you that there are five million business records available in the UK.
Other list brokers have been known to include shelf and dormant companies from Companies House, which are of virtually no use in marketing terms.
Responsiva’s business data lists host only the active records and at a company premise level, rather than at an employee level. So each business premise can only be counted once.
So these extra two million records should be scrapped (in terms of counting the available business lists) leaving a universe of three million active records. To follow is an approximate breakdown of these three million business list records, and whether or not they are worthwhile for marketing purposes:
|Active Ltds, Partnerships & Plcs||1,000,000||Yes|
|Branches and additional sites||500,000||Maybe|
|Active non limiteds / sole traders||500,000||Yes|
|Inactive non-ltds / non-profits||500,000||No|
|Duplicate companies at same site||250,000||No|
|Total:||3,000,000||1.5 – 2.0 million|
In reviewing these figures in more detail (and bearing in mind that the business data figures quoted are approximate):
1. Active companies. 1,000,000 records.
The blue shaded area of the chart represents head offices and single-site businesses.
These are all good for marketing purposes, giving a decision-making ability with each business.
2. Branches and additional sites: 500,000 records
The red area of the chart illustrates branches. Certain decisions can be made at a branch level (such as support for local charities or commercial cleaning) which makes them good selections for some campaigns. But other decisions are usually made at a group level (such as accountancy, IT, HR related services). Therefore the branch data requires consideration as to whether it should be included or not.
3. Active non-limiteds and sole traders: 500,000 records
The green area of the chart represents active companies not registered with Companies House. Having been verified by other business list sources (such as the telephone directories) this business data is perfectly valid for marketing. However if you wish to exclude sole traders from your business marketing list, it is a simple process to apply a filter of a minimum employee size. Say 5+.
4. Inactive non-ltds / non-profits: 500,000 records.
These are depicted by the purple area within the chart. Examples of “businesses” within this pot are scout huts, church halls and part-time operators. In auditing such a file Responsiva found one particular record which epitomises this business data list: an individual who is known by the company as a consumer, employed by a corporate body. On occasional weekends (perhaps once every three months) he performs as a magician at clubs and events. These records are not strictly “businesses” and are not worthwhile as marketing prospects.
5. Duplicate companies at the same site: 250,000 records.
Shaded in yellow by the chart, this business list should generally be avoided at all costs. Responsiva audited such a file and found (as a typical example) one premise containing four business list records. IT was a local car showroom which somehow justified supporting the following business data:
- A car showroom
- A car insurance company
- A car repair centre
- A petrol station
All four companies had the same address, telephone number and managing director.
Responsiva recommends that only one of these businesses are valid within your marketing prospect list, and any excess form this pot of 250,000 “bad” prospects.
6. Irish data: 250,000 records.
Whilst Northern Ireland is generally included as a part of the UK’s universe of business lists, Southern Ireland should not be. That is unless specifically requested.
Business Data Universe Summary
The active business list universe therefore contains approximately two million trading entities. i.e., Sections 1 – 3 above.
If branches are to be excluded the figure reduces to 1.5 million business list records. i.e., Sections 1 and 3 (excluding 2).
Responsiva do not recommend using the additional 1 million business list records (sections 4 – 6) for marketing purposes. And it is from these sections that many list brokers (who profess to have three million business prospects on file) are selecting your prospect data lists.
Talk to Responsiva about your business data needs: it always makes sense.