Aligned Assets

Aligned Assets Case Study

Since enhancing our gazetteer with 118 Information, we’ve seen a more accurate identification of business addresses for our 999 call handlers and operation crews. This has led to an average reduction in Business Incident attendance times of 30 seconds – and that can mean the difference between life and death.

The fragility of today’s economic climate has meant that businesses come and go at a faster pace than ever before. As a result, when a Fire and Rescue Service is called out to an incident, details about the business operating out of a property may not always be accurate. This will inevitably lead to an unprecedented delay in the deployment of response vehicles to the scene, the consequences of which are easy to imagine. In addition to the growing trend for short-lived pop-up shops appearing on our high streets, established businesses continually move, change names or close down, and new start-ups are born. This ebb and flow of businesses in our local cities, towns and villages can create a substantial drain on Fire and Rescue Services’ resources, as these address changes are often not recorded by the local authority or Royal Mail in good time. When there is a gap in the business-address information available, a Fire Command and Control Centre may need several people simultaneously searching the Internet for information that may or may not be correct. This was a very real challenge for the Network Fire Services Partnership (NFSP) – a collaboration between Devon & Somerset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Services. Through a shared Command and Control System, the aim of this partnership was to enable a more efficient deployment of Fire and Rescue Services to an emergency call-out. However, the efficiency of reaching business emergencies in good time was being greatly tested. The NFSP were already sharing Aligned Assets’ gazetteer, Bluelight, so the move over a year ago to share and access the most accurate business data from 118 Information was a natural progression. 118 Information is the most accurate and comprehensive list of businesses actively trading in the UK, and is maintained by continued verification through direct contact with businesses. By embedding the 118 Information into the gazetteer management system to fill the gaps within the existing AddressBase Premium list (provided by Ordnance Survey), Aligned Assets were able to feed this most up-to-date business data into the NFSP’s Vision Command and Control system provided by Capita. Looking back over the past year, Stuart King, NFSP ABR Vision Lead & Fire Control System DC, reflects on what they set out to achieve: “Our key goals were about time savings. It was crucial to reduce our call handling time by accurately finding the business in the Command and Control gazetteer. We also wanted to reduce fire crews’ attendance time by being able to correctly identify and communicate the business name and address. In the past, we’d often had to rely on crews actually seeing fire and smoke to identify the location of the incident, and as we know, not all emergencies are identifiable that way. “Since enhancing our gazetteer with 118 Information, we’ve seen a more accurate identification of business addresses for our 999 call handlers and operation crews. This has led to an average reduction in Business Incident attendance times of 30 seconds – and that can mean the difference between life and death.” A second efficiency the NFSP has benefitted from has been the 90% plus reduction in requests to amend gazetteer entries from 999 calls, dropping from 10–20 per month per Fire Service to none, or the occasional one. This means the resources used to manually update the gazetteer can be better spent responding to emergency calls. This simple but innovative use of data and expertise from different sectors has led to an extra 45,000 business addresses being available to the NFSP for emergency response in the South West, leading to greater safety and security for those businesses, their employees and their customers. To find out more, contact Aligned Assets on 01483 717950. For more information, go to Source: UK Fire, published 8/8/18

GDPR: The Pain And The Possibilities

A lot has changed over the last two decades, from the way we live our lives to the way we do business. Just twenty years ago the internet was in its infancy, most people didn’t own a mobile telephone and the fax machine was an office favourite. Today we have super-fast broadband, everyone and her grandmother owns a smart phone and the idea of communicating via fax is frankly funny. Two decades on and we are all now part of the Internet of Things — increasingly online and increasingly connected. We organise our lives and run our businesses via the internet, which means there is now a plethora of personal data all floating around out there in cyberspace. And this is why the EU is implementing the new General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force in May this year, to address this massive digital shift and to make businesses more accountable for the collecting, storing and processing of all this private information.

Make Sure Your Business is Ready for the GDPR

On May 25th 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and it will impact your business. Whether you’re a large national organisation holding banks of marketing prospect information and online identifiers or a micro company with one employee, if you handle any personal data belonging to EU citizens, be that personnel, prospect or customer information, the new GDPR will apply to you. The vast majority of businesses collect or hold some amount of data from third parties, customers or prospects. After all, a healthy business feeds on a proactive marketing approach. From 25th May things will change, and to hold, store or process personal data you will need to have an established legal basis to do so, and documentation to support that. The GDPR will require your business to regularly assess, record and document compliance. You will be expected to keep clear data records, make any data breaches in your organisation known within 72 hours and give individuals the opportunity to right to remove their details easily from your database at any time.

Power to the People

Essentially, the new General Data Protection Regulation gives individuals more rights. The personal data of all EU citizens will become increasingly protected and your company will become accountable for the safety of all the personal data you hold. Your business will become responsible for obtaining, storing and processing personal data securely and will have to be able to demonstrate it too.

How the GDPR Will Impact Your Business

Without a doubt, preparing for the new GDPR is going to be majorly disruptive for most businesses. You’ll need to be aware of all the personal data you hold and know where it is located; you’ll need to know who exactly has access to this information and know how it is managed.

A Few Things to Consider in Your Preparation

Audits & Accountability An internal data audit will be necessary on the run up to May 25th, to establish what data you hold and where.  Some organisations will need to appoint a Data Protection Officer to deal with data security and to manage the processes involved.  You’ll need to be able to evidence and demonstrate the legal basis on which you hold personal data. Transparency It’s likely you’ll need to review and update your company’s privacy policies and statements to ensure transparency under the new regulation. Your GDPR-ready policies should give individuals more ‘clear and understandable’ information about how their personal data is used. The Information Commissioner’s Office will require your privacy policy to unambiguously inform people who you are, clarify what you are going to do with their information and inform them what use is being made of their details. Removal & Access Requests Under the new GDPR, every person has the right to access the data you hold on them and, in certain circumstances, the right to be forgotten.  If someone requests access to their data, you must send this to them free of charge and within one month of the request; this information can be requested in an electronic format so it can be transferred to an alternative data controller. If asked, you must also delete an individual’s private data from your database and make reasonable steps to inform any third parties. It may be tempting to bury your head in the sand or to feign ignorance in the face of so much disruption — but the new GDPR simply can’t be ignored. Failure to ensure your enterprise is compliant by the date the regulation comes into play and you put your business at risk. Serious breaches could cost you up to 4% of your annual turnover or 20 million Euros in fines. So it’s best to be prepared.

New Rules, New Opportunities

The fact is the new GDPR is going to happen and it will still be applicable to your business beyond Brexit. It would be a costly mistake to assume that as it’s an EU directive it will only apply to the UK for a short time. Even when we have left the EU, UK data protection laws will need to be in line with the EU’s. But as with many things in life, what you get out depends on what you put in. Approach the new GDPR in a positive way and you’ll see that these inconvenient new rules can bring with them new opportunities for your business. The new GDPR offers a great opportunity to sort through and better understand your data landscape. It’s always a good idea to periodically examine the data processes and procedures within your business and this new regulation offers the possibility to clean up outdated practices, to clear out useless data and to implement new, more effective ways of doing things that will benefit your business in the future. No one likes to feel forced into doing extra housekeeping, but it is possible to find value in the cost of compliance. Making your data collection truly transparent and your security systems safer will only help to build customer trust and benefit sales.  

How Market Location Can Help You

The new GDPR will bring with it many changes to your B2B sales and marketing activities. And you’ll need to know you’re compliant and not running the risk of fines. But if the thought of auditing all your current data, keeping your data up to date and ensuring your data procedures meet the new regulation brings you out in a GDPR-induced sweat, we can help. As we hold the premier B2B database of UK businesses, we fully understand and comply with the procedures as defined in the GDPR and this compliance is at the heart of everything we do.  Our large inhouse call centre constantly verifies records, making 10,000 outbound calls a day,  to make sure your B2B data is safe, compliant and of a high quality. We communicate regularly with data subjects, explaining what their data is being used for and offering them the ability to modify their data. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, you need your marketing efforts to make an impact and make a difference to your sales. We can produce a full audit of your data, highlighting where details are out of date or businesses are no longer operational. This will help to clear up your database and improve the quality of the data you hold, reducing the volume of postal returns, bounced emails and disconnected calls. But it’s not just the Data Protection Act that’s being updated to become the new GDPR, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which has provided privacy rights concerning electronic marketing since 2003, is also changing. Currently at draft stage, there is currently no date set for the new ePrivacy Regulation to come into force. As our society quickly changes, so do our rules. But with Market Location you can trust your B2B data is of high quality, compliant and the best for your business. A lot has changed over the last two decades and this shows no sign of slowing down.  So if you need a stress-free solution to the new regulations and want to feel confident about the B2B data you use for sales and marketing in your business, contact Market Location today, on 01252 941 224 and turn the pain of change into new possibilities.

Marketing Tips: How to Plan for Success

Plan for Success Has January taken you by surprise and you haven’t yet done your new annual marketing plan? You will find you are not alone. Many businesses get so caught up in trying to achieve targets at the end of the year that the marketing planning process for the next year fails to begin until the year has already started! Starting a marketing plan can be a daunting process you would prefer to put off and focus on the business of selling, but having a plan in place is critical for focusing effort, measuring and achieving success. Even if you are already receiving regular enquiries for your product or service, you need a marketing plan to ensure those enquiries continue into the future and keep building your sales pipeline. Follow our advice and you’ll have your new marketing plan done in no time.
  • Marketing Tip One: Define and learn about your target audience
In order for your plan to work, it must be targeted at reaching the right people who use your product or service and importantly, make you money. Make sure you understand who they are, their key demographics and how you can reach them.
  • Marketing Tip Two: Perform research
If you aren’t sure who your best target audience is, you might need to research this. Research doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming – a lot can be done via social media asking for feedback directly or sending your customers online surveys by email. You might need to incentivise your customers to respond, but their feedback will be extremely valuable to you. Research can also uncover a new target audience you hadn’t considered before or make you aware of how your business is really perceived, which might be different to how you thought it was!
  • Marketing Tip Three: Assess your previous results
You’ve just finished a full year, so you should know how your business has performed. Look at your customer numbers, revenue and profitability.  What marketing promotion did you do and what worked best for you to bring on profitable new customers? These are the channels you should look to include in your new tactical marketing plan, and test alongside new marketing channels.
  • Marketing Tip Four: Formalise your business goals 
Now that you’ve looked at how your business has performed, you need to formalise where you want your business to go over the next year and beyond. Many businesses will have one, three and five year plans, but for marketing tactics (how you are going to reach your business goals) you really only need to plan for the next year and that is what we are focused on achieving here. Your business goals should be defined and measurable so you can understand if you are being successful. For example, how many new customers do you want to bring on board and how much revenue and profit are they going to make you? How much market share do you want to achieve?
  • Marketing Tip Five: Define your marketing tactics
The next step is to add more detail to your plan – what tactics you are going to use to achieve your goals. For example, to target new customers you may want to use email marketing and to increase your general brand awareness you might want to make yourself more visible across social media channels.
  • Marketing Tip Six: Agree your marketing budget and resource
As you know how many customers you are aiming to attract and how much revenue and profit you should make from them, you can set aside an amount of money for implementing your marketing tactics to achieve your goals. You also need to think about how much physical resource is going to be needed for implementation. If you don’t have a Marketing team in-house or lack certain areas of expertise you will need to think about engaging a third party who can fill your gaps.
  • Marketing Tip Seven: Continually evaluate your results 
Once you start to implement your marketing plan it’s important to review your results regularly. Often this will be on a monthly basis, as you need to give some time for implementation and results to accumulate before you can collate them and see the overall picture of performance and how sales have been impacted. Set up a spreadsheet to track the key metrics associated with your marketing campaigns in one place to make analysis easier.
  • Marketing Tip Eight: Be flexible to changes
Whilst a plan is necessary to give you a framework to work to and focus your efforts, it’s important to remember that sometimes your plan might not deliver the results you expected or outside variables, such as new competitor developments, will mean that you will need to adapt and change your plan. A degree of flexibility is always important.
We hope you found the above tips a useful resource for helping you with your marketing plan. If you would like more help with planning your marketing activity please get in touch. Our Marketing Consultants are available to help you understand your business opportunities and how to reach new customers cost effectively. Get in touch with us today.