Lee Gisbourne Joins Qbase as Customer Journey Manager

by Robin Cronan – 17/11/2014

Qbase are delighted to announce the arrival of Lee Gisbourne as our new Customer Journey Manager within our Business Insight team. Lee Gisbourne previously worked for the RNLI and played a significant role within the organisation’s data-based fundraising operations as the charity’s Database Analysis Manager.

Lee Gisbourne

Lee Gisbourne’s new role at Qbase, which will start in February and be predominantly based in London, will focus on working directly with our not-for-profit customer to develop and implement new business insight strategies.


Lee is a well-respected professional within the not-for-profit industry and has developed excellent relationships with a vast network of his peers over the course of his 15 year career.

Asked about his appointment with Qbase Lee commented, “It is a great pleasure for me to join Qbase, who are such a huge presence in the charity sector, because it gives me the opportunity to use my skills and expertise to help a greater number of charities achieve similar successes to those we achieved at the RNLI. Of course it is sad to leave the RNLI but thankfully I will remain close to my colleagues”.

Lee is passionate about data, insight and the charity sector, and also is known for his willingness to provide support and guidance to his fellow data-based fundraising professionals, Lee has worked for the RNLI since 2007.

Lee’s role at the RNLI was to develop and implement database analysis systems and techniques that deliver full optimisation of data, which can then be used to influence strategic decision making.

At the RNLI Lee was responsible for developing the charity’s lifestages and engagement segmentation model, introduced propensity models into the marketing team, produced the first lifetime value reporting and developed several supporter lifecycle and product lifecycle models.

For this Lee has won many awards, including Winner of the IoF Insight Special Interest Group Team of the Year, Winner of Best Use of FastStats 2013, which was won in collaboration with Qbase, and was shortlisted for Marketing Week’s Data Professional of the Year.


In February Lee will join the Business Insight team at Qbase and become our Customer Journey Manager. This means that Lee will be working closely with our not-for-profit customers to develop and implement new business insight strategies, helping charities achieve their fundraising goals by moving their supporters along an engagement journey that increases donation revenues whilst reducing campaign costs.

The added value this generates for our existing and future charity customers is beyond quantification. Having come from the charity sector, where he gained extensive experience achieving these goals for the RNLI, Lee has a very rich and detailed understanding of the challenges faced by charities in the modern economy. This means that the solutions Lee is able to devise for charities will be engineered with even more precision and, ultimately, deliver ever greater results with even more cost savings.


Qbase are now one of the largest and most innovative providers of data-based fundraising solutions to the charity sector, which is further underlined by our free annual TRIBES forum for charity sector fundraising, data analysis and marketing professionals.

Our recent business growth is largely attributable to more and more charities choosing Qbase as their provider of data services.

The future of Qbase in the charity sector is greatly enhanced with Lee’s arrival, which will enable us to provide a greater level of support and expertise to charity sector professionals in the pursuit of higher campaign response rates and fundraising revenues.

For more information about customer journey planning, data analysis and modelling please contact us today.

Qbase Gain PDM Accreditation for Practical Data Migration

by Robin Cronan – 28/10/2014

The Qbase Data Migration team are now accredited data migration providers after successfully completing iErgo’s ‘Practical Data Migration v2 Certification Programme’, which helps us further improve our execution of large scale data migration projects for our customers.

Iergo Logo

Data migration projects are almost always very complex and expensive investments for any organisation, not just in terms of financial capital but human resource too.

According to a Bloor Industries report, 80% of data migration projects over run on cost and time. On average cost over runs amount to 30% of a company’s total investment in the project. This means that poor execution can push your data migration project far beyond your original project budget and cause a whole plethora of added complications.

These persistent failings are a result of data migration not being recognised as a profession in its own right, which is exacerbated by approximately 76% of companies attempting to develop their own methodology instead of adopting a tried and tested process that can be implemented by an accredited professional.

iErgo are one of the first organisations accredited to provide training in PDM, the internationally recognised open methodology in Data Migration, which is delivered via a series of public classes or private on-site sessions.

Qbase invited industry authority Johny Morris of iErgo to our head office in September 2014 to deliver the ‘Practical Data Migration v2 Certification Programme’ to our team led by our Technical Solutions Director, Nick Kelly.

The programme concluded in October 2014 with five Qbase staff successfully completing the training course. As a result Qbase are now a PDM Certified provider of Practical Data Migration solutions.

Qbase uses PDM to apply a framework to data migration projects, that ensures the customer migrates all the data they required, and none of the data they don’t .PDM processes reduce the risk of critical data not being surfaced in the new application, thereby improving user acceptance and system adoption, whilst helping to prevent costly project overruns.

“Qbase deliver data migration solutions to a number of high profile customers but as our business grows, which it has done over the last few years, it is important that all new members of staff can deliver the same high standards. What better way to do this than through a PDM Data Migration Accreditation? I am really pleased with the commitment shown by my team and thrilled that Qbase are now an accredited Data Migration provider”, explained Nick Kelly of Qbase.

If you need support or advice about your data migration project please feel free to contact us today.


by Robin Cronan – 15/09/2014

Qbase have been shortlisted for the Best Use of Technology, for our work with the RNLI, and Consultancy of the Year at this year’s Charity Times Awards, which is due to take place in October 2014.


The Best Use of Technology category is awarded to a charity which has demonstrated an innovative and effective use of technology in any area of its operations.

Working with the RNLI, we submitted our entry for the data analysis and segmentation work we undertook with FastStats.

The RNLI wanted to change the focus of their fundraising to place the supporter at the heart of their activities. Shifting control of the supporters’ relationship away from individual teams and placing it in the hands of the supporter was key to achieving success.

By putting the supporter in control of their relationship with the RNLI, levels of engagement and response could be improved with carefully engineered marketing messages specifically targeted and personalised to the individual supporter.

The new segmentation approach, developed using FastStats, became central to changes in the organisation’s approach to fundraising and helped support the RNLI to deliver a phenomenal 53.3% increase in donations and response rates of 9.28%.

As a result of this work, the RNLI has now completed a restructure of the fundraising, research, data and marketing teams. This new structure looks at facilitating a supporter journey rather than forcing a supporter down a particular path.

As a result of the work carried out by Qbase the RNLI found that locked inside its existing data was the information they needed to ensure maximisation of direct marketing ROI. By innovatively using a range of technology solutions this insight was unlocked and the RNLI were able to cut direct marketing costs whilst increasing donations, and successfully restructured their organisation to leverage greater value from their new competitive advantage.


We have also been shortlisted for Consultancy of the Year. The winning organisation will be judged on their ability to demonstrate a real commitment to the sector and sector organisations.

Our submission focused on our work delivering marketing intelligence and technology solutions to the charity sector, working for organisations like Help for Heroes, Barnardo’s, Macmillan Cancer Support, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, NSPCC, Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, Diabetes UK, Comic Relief, RSPCA, The Stoke Association, RNLI and others.

We also included an overview of our annual TRIBES event in London. Many of the charities who have implemented the methodologies, techniques and technologies covered in our TRIBES Forums have significantly driven down costs and increased revenues.

In October both Rob Jones and Mark Robinson will be hosting a number of high profile guests at the prestigious Charity Times Awards in London. We wish them the best of luck and hope they are able to bring home both awards for Qbase and the people who have helped make all this possible.

Buying Data? What you need to know about data list brokers.

by Robin Cronan – 28/07/2014

So, you are thinking about buying a data list to support your direct marketing and lead generation initiatives, but how do you choose one data list broker over another?

To help you through your data list purchase we have created the following guide to keep you from paying too much, paying for what you already own or paying for what you do not need. We will also help you find a data list broker that provides quality, targeted data that yields the best results and ROI for you and your business.


Let us kick off with a nice easy way to test the quality of your potential data list brokers. Are they a member of the Direct Marketing Association? If not, find someone else!

TIP: Check your potential data list broker on the member’s directory of the Direct Marketing Association website. They may appear in the member’s directory but not necessarily under 'Lists' or 'Data' categories. Do not let this put you off, it is likely they have been categorised for other services they offer. Only be concerned if you cannot find them at all because it is likely they are not members.If they are not members they are under no obligation to conform to strict industry standards and codes of practice, and the quality of their data and services cannot be verified.


A lot of data list brokers are run by sales professionals who operate on a % of commission and their business model relies on their sales teams selling high volumes of data to maximise turnover and personal wealth. It is often the case that you only identify this type of data list broker once your purchase has been completed. However, try to avoid these data list brokers by insisting the data you purchase is targeted and relevant, not high volume. This will not only reduce the amount you pay for your data, it will reduce your subsequent direct marketing costs and increase response and conversion rates.

TIP: Make it clear up front that you are not looking for volume, instead you want a highly targeted list of data that is relevant to your campaign objectives and target audience. Insist on seeing evidence of additional fields of data that shows the records contain the characteristics, interests, behaviours or demographics you specifically want to target.


Now you have made it clear to your potential data list broker exactly what you want from them, it is time to investigate their pricing model.

The best data list brokers work on a flat fee instead of commission, so volume does not affect the price they quote for their services. These are the people you want to deal with. Better still, find a data list broker that works on a flat fee and presents transparent pricing for the data you are buying. You will be able to see exactly where any mark ups or additions have been included and you can be sure to trust them each and every time you need to buy data.

TIP: Ask up front what their fee is and whether they work on commission or not. Their answer will give away their pricing model. If they operate a flat fee and are transparent with their pricing they will be happy to give you that information. If they squirm and wriggle it is best to move on!


OK, so you have made your objectives clear and laid down the law in terms of what you expect. You have even found a handful of brokers who work on a flat fee and are transparent with their pricing. Now you need to find out just how good their service is.

Many data list brokers will buy your data, add a mark-up and sell it on to you. After that you are on your own! But in almost all cases acquiring the data is just the start. You need to cross reference the new data against your existing data set to ensure compatibility of formats and other vital attributes. It is likely to need cleaning to ensure the format of the new data is the same as your existing data sets. For this you will need the services of a data bureau, but very few data list brokers will liaise with your data bureau to get your records cleaned.

Before you purchase your data find out if the data list broker works with, or is part of, a data bureau who can provide these services to you. If they are you are sure to receive a high quality service and timely delivery of your data. Without this you may find yourself playing piggy-in-the-middle between two suppliers who blame each other for failures, delays, data inaccuracies and subsequent poor campaign performance.

TIP: Ask you data list broker how they process the data file to match your current formatting.

This will force them to reveal whether they will do it, do it through a partner or leave it up to you. If it is the latter you need to find another list broker.


You have already established your potential list broker will buy relevant and targeted data (not volume), they operate a flat fee and transparent pricing model and they work with, or are part of, a data bureau – no demand Nett Names deals!

Nett Names deals are where you only pay for the data records you use. The de-duplication work is done by the data bureau on behalf of the data list broker, which means that, instead of paying for the whole data set your data list broker has acquired, you only pay for the records that come out of the de-duplication process. Nett Names deals will save you a significant amount of money on your data costs because you will not be paying for data you already own.

TIP: If you have got this far it is likely your data list broker is of a standard that will offer Nett Names deals, but do not take it for granted. Even if they can do this for you, a lot of data list brokers will not mention it unless you ask. Be assertive and demand Nett Names deals before you proceed!


So you are happy with your data list broker so far. They are committed to delivering relevant and targeted data, operate a flat fee and transparent pricing model, work with (or are part of) a data bureau and have agreed to buy data on a Nett Names basis. But before you give them the green light you need to make sure they have agreed the 'hierarchy of lists' with their suppliers.

Imagine you have appointed your data list broker but have not discussed the hierarchy of lists. Your list brokers goes away and works flat out to find you the most targeted data for your campaign requirements and negotiated Nett Names deals with a number of data providers. Each provider has supplied a list and the data bureau is ready to cross reference your data against these multiple data lists. Your data list broker now has 3 main choices for this process:

  1. Cheapest First
  2. Random
  3. Proportionate

The options listed relate to the hierarchy of lists. For example, let us imagine your data list broker has sourced 5 lists and 'Joe Bloggs' exists on all of them. All these lists need to be processed for de-duplication and the list that is chosen first typically contributes the most records to the final data set, hence that provider makes more money.

Cheapest First: This option selects the order in which these lists are cross referenced based simply on their cost. This option is great for you because the data list broker will ensure the final list you purchase contains the lowest priced data. Data suppliers that offer low prices may insist the hierarchy of lists is 'cheapest first'.

Random: This option selects lists completely at random. Data suppliers who offer low prices may not be happy to supply data if this option is to be employed, but might be more favourable to suppliers who offer more complete data sets (which cost more per record).

Proportionate: This option attempts to spread the cost amongst all the data suppliers, so if Joe Bloggs exists on all 5 data sets being cross references, all those 5 suppliers will share the money paid for that record.

However, it is important to make sure your data list broker has negotiated the hierarchy of lists with their suppliers up front. If they do not they may find all their hard work is undone at the de-duplication processing stage if their suppliers cannot agree on a methodology that suits all parties. The result for you is long delays and a less complete data set at the end of it all.

TIP: Ask you potential list broker how they will prioritise that lists they source when it comes to processing the data for de-duplication. Get them to explain their process to you and be sure to ask them if they have agree this with their suppliers? If they say yes, confirm it on email – you may need to refer to it later.


So you data list broker has passed all the tests, you have a good relationship developing and you have given them the green light to source your data. They have gone away and sourced the best possible data they can and now your list is ready for you to purchase. At this stage you will be presented with the following 3 rate options:

  1. Single Use
  2. Multiple Use
  3. 12 Month Lease

Data list brokers who are sales and commission focused will always push you towards single use rates and high data volumes. However, this is both expensive and ineffective for your business and direct marketing objectives.

What your data list broker should be doing is working with you to develop a data strategy and utilise the best rate options for that strategy. For example, a data strategy could be shaped around the idea that you have previously bought data that performs extremely well, so you want to re-use that. Let us call this your ‘banker list’. In this case your data list broker should negotiate a 12 month lease rate for that data.

You might then want to introduce some new data for your next campaign, but you do not know if this will be any good, and you do not want to be locked into a 12 month lease if it fails to deliver. So you data list broker should negotiate a single use rate while you test its quality.

However, that data might later prove to have yielded good results for its first campaign, but it is still too early to lock into a 12 month lease. You data list broker in this instance should negotiate a multiple use rate for you while you validate its quality.

Ultimately this means you will be paying as little as possible for your data, minimising the risk of being locked into longer contracts for data that fails to deliver and ensuring a robust data strategy where each campaign you do is made up of: a) test phase data (at single use rates); b) validation phase data (at multiple use rates) and; c) bank list data (at 12 month lease rates). The idea is that you qualify data and accumulate records to feed into your banker list, ensuring the best possible ROI on your data investments.

TIP: You should work with your data list broker to develop a data strategy that fits with your business and campaign objectives. They should offer you the best rate options for each phase of your strategy. If they keep pushing you towards single use, or pulling you away from 12 month lease deals, they may not be acting in your best interests.

Download this article as a PDF by clicking here


by Robin Cronan – 17/06/2014

Marketing Week Live kicks off on 25th and 26th June at the Olympia Grand and Qbase are using their exhibition space at E269a to offer a FREE Marketing Surgery to all companies.

This year the event promises a brand new approach with an integrated experience designed to help you accelerate your marketing plans and your career.

Invest a day at Marketing Week Live and there's no possible way you'll leave without a head (and notebook) full of ideas, inspirations, tools, tactics and potential partners.

There's no event in the UK anything like Marketing Week Live. Not just because it's big and buzzy and brilliant (it is). But because Marketing Week's editorial teams (top marketers themselves) have created an event that reflects your biggest opportunities, threats and challenges.

If you haven't booked your place at this year's Marketing Week Live you can register for a free delegate pass on the organiser's website.

Qbase will be providing a free Marketing Surgery for all companies so, whether you need advice on list broking or help with your data marketing strategy, or want to discuss CRM systems or large scale migration projects, our specialist team will be available to discuss your business challenges and see if they can offer any free advice to help you and your business progress.

If you would like to book a specific time please register your details before the event.