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4 Ways to Leverage Enrichment Data to Understand Your Customer

Authors Photo Precisely Editor | January 28, 2021

For years, businesses have sought new ways of gaining insights about their customers. In an era of powerful business applications built around ERP and CRM, analytics has gained momentum as the software industry has found new ways of managing and analyzing larger and larger volumes of information. A rich array of new sources of customer data have entered the picture, including mobile and web data, social media, and more. Data enrichment opens up a world of opportunities.

Fortunately, high-performance business analytics systems are making it possible to know more than ever before about customers and prospects. As cloud storage has become more affordable and processing power has increased exponentially, companies have ramped up efforts to turn corporate data into a competitive advantage. Newer analytics products are capable of handling unstructured data, which was largely inaccessible in the past.

We are entering an era in which the organizations that leverage data as a strategic asset can build a long-term competitive advantage. For many companies, that process only goes as far as the data that can be sourced internally – that is, the information that resides in the company’s own software systems. Businesses that hold to this limited view, however, will fail to tap into the full potential that their data has to offer.

Building upon existing corporate data with information from external sources, leaders can add significant depth and context to their understanding of customer behavior. It’s a classic case of the whole being more than the sum of its parts. Let’s look at a few examples.

Filling in the gaps with data enrichment

We’ll begin with a simple use case – having a picture of your customer that is accurate and complete. Customer information is typically subject to a given rate of decay. In other words, in the course of any particular year, a certain percentage of the customer information residing in your internal systems will become outdated or inaccurate.

Whether your customers are individuals, organizations, or companies, names often change in the course of time. Customers move. Street names change. New area codes are added or altered.

Sometimes the data is simply missing or incorrect. Perhaps you have an address for one of your customers, but no phone number, or maybe a zip code was entered incorrectly when your customer filled out an online form. Data enrichment can help to identify those gaps, correct inaccuracies, and fill gaps of missing information.

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Demographic depth

It’s one thing to understand how much of your product a particular customer purchased over the past five years. It is an entirely different thing to understand someone’s age, marital status, employment, and purchasing power, and to identify buying trends that correlate with those data points.

Consider the kinds of purchasing decisions that are affected by major life events. Some are obvious. Wedding planners, baby boutiques, and retirement communities all cater to people who are approaching a particular milestone in their lives. Numerous other businesses stand to gain from better visibility into life events as well.

Financial services firms can target products and services such as credit cards or savings accounts to graduating seniors (or to parents of graduating seniors). New homebuyers are likely a strong target group for home improvement retailers. If data were to indicate that empty-nesters consistently begin remodeling projects within five years after their kids graduate college, then those same home improvement stores might see value in targeting their messaging to that audience and increasing their campaigning efforts related to that timeline.

That process begins with having enough of the right data to analyze and enrich in the first place. Demographic data when combined with customer data, can begin to paint a very detailed picture of customers by adding deep context to their buying behavior.

Location, location, location

There is a wealth of detailed data available about the location and movement of people in time and space. Mobility data gives us access to valuable information about which populations are aggregating in a particular area at a particular time, or who is passing through a certain route, and when.

This kind of information can be especially valuable in site selection. Retailers can not only identify and forecast traffic patterns, but can also understand who is frequenting a particular area and what their consumer and lifestyle preferences are. It can also provide a view into competitor traffic, as well as the demographic profile of the customers shopping at competing businesses.

Data Enrichment - Location point on a map.

Location-based advertising takes things a step further, by engaging customers when they enter within the boundaries of a target area. Mobile phone offers, for example, might target shoppers as they arrive at a mall. If they arrive late morning or early afternoon, they become a relevant audience for a targeted offer from a nearby restaurant.

Building a complete picture with data enrichment

Customers are constantly changing, as life events unfold, as their buying preferences change, and as their levels of disposable income fluctuate. Business customers, similarly, follow somewhat predictable patterns based on economic conditions, industry trends, growth patterns, and so on.

While some of these patterns are already known and clearly understood, many more remain to be discovered and will change over the course of time. The companies that discover such patterns stand to benefit by identifying unmet needs, recognizing underserved territories and market audiences, and discovering unseen correlations in customer purchasing behavior.

Those kinds of discoveries require a proactive approach in which data science is understood to be the foundation for long-term competitive advantage.

Precisely helps companies leverage data enrichment as a strategic differentiator. To learn more about how Precisely can help your business, download our white paper: The Data Differentiator: How Improving Data Quality Improves Business.