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What's the Risk of Buying A List?
It's usually better to build your own in-house lead list than to buy one.
Leads opt-in to house lists. They're more likely to have current info, and to respond.
And you want a list that has current contact information. The older the contact information the more likely it's out of date and stale, the less likely it will reach your lead.
The best response rates for purchased leads come from leads no older than 4 months; and
72% of leads on a purchased list might be stale & out of date.
How Do You Protect Yourself and Measure This?
Get the date when the lead was last updated. Calculate the date difference from the day the list was delivered. Create cohorts of leads by months since they were last updated. Analyze your data by these cohorts. For extra value run A/B tests by cohorts.
In one graph we see response rates fall off a cliff for leads older than 4 months ("4-Month Freshness Band"). In the other graph, we see there that only 28% of the C-Level leads we bought were in the 4-Month Freshness Band. Even worse 51% of leads were 12 months or older, and a complete waste of money. And the lower level leads, managers who might influence C-Level execs were even more stale; 72% were 12 months or older
Conclusion: Leads with contact information 4 months or fresher are useful; 4 to 12 months have very low value, and 12 months or older are useless.
As Marketing Director for a tech company, I developed a go-to-market plan for a new product. It included email campaigns. We had a pre-existing contract to buy a large lead list from Jigsaw, which "crowd sourced" leads. People could become a member for free to upload contact information of their contacts. In exchange, they could download lead information others uploaded. The more times one lead is uploaded, the more likely it was to be current, or so Jigsaw claimed.
Our contract let us buy a large and targeted list. I worked with the vendor to build a list limited to select industries, job level, and other criteria. Most importantly, I asked the vendor to include the date on which the last contact was updated. That let me perform this analysis, uncover that the 72% of list we bought had stale contacts; their delivery and response rate fell well below the best performing cohorts.
Prepared Using Tableau Desktop