Businesses use data to streamline decision-making across departments. Data can help you improve marketing campaigns, optimize business processes, identify market and industry trends, etc. The bigger the data set and the more frequently updated, the better. However, many businesses are limited by their resources when collecting data.
At one point, they reach a plateau. The only way to overcome it is to enrich data. Free data enrichment has been a thing for many years. Let’s see if it’s still a 2022 thing, what benefits and challenges are associated with it, and if there are any alternatives, you can pursue.
What is Free Data Enrichment?
There are a couple of database types a business can use depending on the source of data. First, we have an internal first-party database. It includes the data the company collects through various channels such as market research, CRM, and web scraping.
Then you have external third-party databases. These databases are collected, refined, and updated by 3rd party companies called data providers. It’s a reliable source of B2B business data that companies can use on-demand when running analytics to facilitate the decision-making process.
Finally, we have enriched databases. These databases include the internal first-party database and data obtained through a third-party company. Data enrichment is the process of using an internal database and enriching it with data obtained for a data provider. The enrichment process includes adding, merging, and extending data.
The prefix “free” implies that a company obtains a third-party source for free. Now that you know what free data enrichment is let’s look at the challenges of collecting data for free from external sources.
The Main Challenges of Enriching Data for Free
While it may sound tempting to enrich data for free, there are a couple of challenges that you need to be aware of.
First, we have compliance. Obtaining and using personal and business data is regulated by specific laws. For instance, we have GDPR in the EU and the FCT Act in the US. Enriching data for free can potentially expose your company to certain lawsuits.
Then, we have data accuracy. With free data, there are no guarantees that it’s the most accurate data. Third-party sources can provide false or incomplete data. Basing your business decisions on it can result in errors that can be more or less damaging to your operations.
Finally, there are no guarantees that data obtained through a third-party source is the most recent. There are many factors in play here, and basing a decision on outdated information can prove costly. It especially applies to companies that use enriched data to make investment and expansion decisions.
Is there an alternative, then?
The only alternative for free data enrichment is paid data enrichment. You don’t use third-data sources that offer data for free. Instead, you use professional data provider company services to get hold of data to use for enriching your internal data.
The benefits of using paid data to enrich your own data outweigh the associated costs. Renowned data providers run comprehensive marketplaces and list various B2B and B2C-relevant data. It makes it easy to find the most relevant data to your business goals and objectives.
The paid databases are updated regularly, and data providers ensure data quality in terms of accuracy and usability. Finally, we are talking about databases that are obtained through legal means. Enriching your internal data with paid databases ensures that your company stays compliant with the latest data privacy rules and regulations.
The Benefits of Data Enrichment?
Enriching your internal data unlocks new business opportunities and delivers attractive benefits. Let’s see what you can expect if you decide to enrich your data.
Improved Lead Generation
Businesses have limited access to B2B data. On the other hand, various data sources contain valuable information on businesses across verticals. Enriching your data with third-party data can help your marketing team generate and capture more leads.
With access to more data, you will be able to personalize your marketing approach and communicate the benefits of your products or services that best reflect the specific client’s problems, needs, and expectations. With complete insight into your potential clients, you will be able to increase conversion rates as well.
Enhanced Research and Analytics
Doing research and analytics with access to big data provides more accurate insights than doing it with limited internal data. If you enrich your data, you will be able to enhance your research and analytics.
You’ll even be able to enhance it to the point where you don’t need anything else to accurately forecast developments in the markets and industries. With a complete database, you will be able to run the risk, market, and competitive analyses.
Align Your Data With Your Business Goals
Achieving specific business goals dictates the type of data you need access to. You might need firmographic or technographic data at one point, while at other times, you might need intent or contact data.
Being able to enrich your data with a specific data type can help you speed up your research and analytics and get only the insights that you actually need.
Free data enrichment is definitely a 2022 thing as it offers many benefits, such as improved analytics, lead generation, and conversion rates. At the moment, 86% of B2B companies see data as the most valuable asset.
However, given the ever-increasing pace at which companies and consumers generate data, it’s safe to assume that more companies will start combining free and paid third-party data sources to gain more accurate and relevant insights.