Save Time and $ Using Jigsaw-like Services for Ad Agency New Business?

It’s really tempting for an ad agency new business person to look at inexpensive data sources (call them “Jigsaw-like”) and get enticed by their low-price business models.

We get asked about services like this all the time, so I thought it might be helpful to provide a framework to review them.

Of utmost importance: Accuracy. These services usually claim an accuracy rate of around 75%. Taking this number at face value, they’re admitting that 25% of the data is wrong.

Now, the reality of measuring accuracy. Unless these services are actually cleaning their data themselves, they really have no idea how clean it is. The questions to ask yourself are, “Am I okay knowing that one out of every four contacts I get is inaccurate?” And, “Am I okay wasting 25% of my time?”

When you’re purchasing data from a service that relies on users to keep it clean, be cautious about data accuracy claims.

Why does this matter? When you think of accuracy, think of this formula: accuracy = time savings. The more accurate your data provider’s information, the faster you’ll reach your intended decision-makers. The less accurate it is, the more time you’ll spend researching, trying to find your intended prospect.

With this in mind, here are some Pros and Cons of “Jigsaw-like” services:


  • Wide variety of contacts
  • Inexpensive
  • Exchange out-of-date contacts with another
  • No long-term contract


  • No industry focus – you’ll sort through lots of companies and titles to find good prospects
  • Inaccuracy
  • No research support
  • Highly competitive – millions of people are going after the same people
  • Value of your time – if you have a minimal amount of time to spend prospecting, how quickly you can get to decision-makers is critical

The best way to evaluate various data sources is to do some measurements. For example:

  • Out of 100 contacts, how many are incorrect information? More than 10 incorrect data points and you’re dealing with inaccurate information.
  • How long does it take you to find the contact you’re looking for? How does this compare to your current data provider?
  • Once you have your desired contact, do you have the (correct) email, direct dial, address? If not (or it’s incorrect), how long does it take you to get this information? Does your current information provider have it? Is it accurate?
  • What’s the value of your time? Calculate it as follows: (annual salary+bonus)x1.3 / 2080. This will show what it costs your agency to employ you, and takes into account taxes and benefits. If you apply this rate to the time it takes you to do what you’ve identified above, and extrapolate it annually, you’ll have a true measurement of what your data really costs.

With this information in hand, you’ll be able to decide whether a “Jigsaw-like” service is right for your agency.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *