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.

Rising Star Jack Harrold Wins Silver at Insight in Fundraising Awards

by Robin Cronan – 17/06/2014

At the 2014 annual Insight in Fundraising Awards, organised by the Institute of Fundraising, Jack Harrold wins the Rising Star Silver Award.

Nominated by the Alzheimer's Society for his dedication, commitment, enthusiasm and ability to take on new projects and deliver clear and actionable insight, Jack Harrold was awarded silver at the Insight in Fundraising Awards, picking up his prize in the Rising Star category.

Picking up the award Jack said: “I am absolutely delighted to win this award, it's a very proud moment for me, but it truly wouldn't have been possible without the help and support of the team at Qbase. I'd also like to say a big thank you to Helen and Anita at the Alzheimer's Society for nominating me this year.”

At the age of 20, Jack is proving to be one of the most exciting analyst prospects in the sector and an inspiration to all of us. His absolute determination to get things right, constant questioning and honesty have ensured the success of key projects for Alzheimer's Society, allowing the organisation to base key decisions about its fundraising mix and fundraising strategy on robust, well thought out and well-tested analysis.

“We are delighted that Jack won Silver for the Rising Star Award. Jack absolutely deserves it and his determination, proactivity and attention to detail have ensured the success of LTV, which has had a significant impact on our fundraising and the way to talk to our supporters. We couldn't have done it without him”, commented Helen Jackson, Customer Experience Manager at Alzheimer's Society.

The Alzheimer's Society has been working with Qbase for over 4 years. Jack joined its talented team in 2012, aged 19, having completed ‘A’ Levels in ICT, Maths and Further Maths and, having been with Qbase for only a few weeks, was tasked with building a Life Time Value Model for Alzheimer's Society to determine data capture requirements, data definitions, what the final dashboard report would look like and how fundraisers would use this report.

Furthermore, Jack was the main point of contact for all technical queries relating to the LTV build. To support this, Jack has to grasp the fundamentals of fundraising within a matter of weeks and build up a detailed knowledge of business rules and data structures, having had no prior experience of fundraising and having worked as an analyst for a relatively short time.

Following on from the development of LTV analysis, Jack went on to develop product profiles to understand the significant factors for people converting to different fundraising products, and the sequence of communications increasing the likelihood of conversion. This second key project enabled the Alzheimer's Society to review and test new supporter journeys, support increasing retention rates and grow regular giving – one of the strands of its fundraising strategy. Again, Jack's thoroughness and intuition ensured the success of the project to date, as well as his ability to translate complex analysis into something meaningful. He has also been responsible for training new members of the Qbase Team to support this project.

Jack is highly regarded by the Customer Experience team at Alzheimer's Society and is considered the unofficial fifth member of the Customer Experience Team. He is the first person the analysts turn to for FastStats and analysis advice. Jack's work with the Alzheimer's Society on complex Lifetime Value Analysis and profiling projects, projects which will impact significantly on its fundraising performance, prove he is an outstanding individual who will not only make a significant impact within the data science field, but also to the lives of people affected by dementia.

Qbase CRM, insight services and data visualisation tools now available to Local and Central Government.

by Ian Johnstone – 17/06/2014

As of May 22nd, Qbase are delighted to announce that two of their flagship cloud-based products are now available via the Cloudstore , under the new framework g-cloud 5, making it simple and economic for buyers in any public service or non-profit organisation to procure our products. We have created new pricing tiers to ensure that the entry level for all Qbase products on the Cloudstore is low-cost, ensuring that from a single user to 1000 users, public service and non-profit organisations get fantastic value for money from Qbase.

SMART Unique self-contained CRM-stakeholder engagement and management platform.

SMART is a self-contained cloud-based CRM platform for managing, classifying and communicating with stakeholders. SMART can support multiple users in an enterprise and allow them to load stakeholders from data files, classify stakeholders using tags, map and track change in stakeholders' attitudes using the mapping module. SMART contains powerful data gathering web forms, tracks social media input and give users broadcast email and SMS facilities to manage engagement programmes.

FastStats Discoverer - powerful data insight, visualisation and analysis tool

Marketing Data Analysis Software The FastStats suite of marketing analysis products provide access to the information in your enterprise, enabling you to understand your customers & stakeholders better. FastStats will provide easy-to-use train of thought analysis and powerful and detailed visualisation of your data. FastStats provides fast, visual and truly easy to use data analysis with an intuitive drag and drop interface and Wizards that guide you through powerful analysis routines.

About Qbase: founded in 1991, Qbase specialises in helping organisations, classify, integrate, transform and deploy marketing, stakeholder and transactional data. All Qbase services from Data Cleanse through to CRM-stakeholder and Insight/data visualisation, are 100% cloud-based. This means we can offer our clients low-cost, high-value scalable data solutions, all from within our secure ISO27001 certified, UK-based infrastructure.