I scream, you scream, we all scream for … rich and creamy marketing data
by Bill Schneider
The summer vacation travel season recently
led me to New England for an opportunity to unwind in the Green Mountain State. That
of course is Vermont. And what do you suppose is one of Vermont’s most popular
tourist attractions? That of course is the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in
Waterbury. Judging by the assortment of people I observed touring the factory, including
dreamy-eyed newlywed couples, families with over-stimulated kids, hipster college
students, and retirees living the good life, it seems that just about everybody loves
ice cream. The statistics certainly prove this out. According to the National Agriculture
Statistics Service of the USDA, about 1.53 billion gallons of ice cream and related
frozen desserts were produced in the U.S. in 2011. That’s the equivalent of
over 13 gallons of ice cream consumed per U.S. household.
During the tour I sampled some scrumptious flavors including Boston Cream Pie,
Chubby Hubby and Karamel Sutra. With so many choices, why settle on plain old-fashioned
vanilla? Believe me, I didn’t!
Extending this example into the marketing world, we see that “vanilla”
is what many marketers are settling for when it comes to making use of marketing data.
They’ll use plain vanilla data points, like simple age and income definitions,
to describe, segment and target their customers. That doesn’t really work very
well especially when today’s consumers are so hard to reach and are as fragmented
and multi-dimensional as the variety of ice cream scoops that are available from Ben
Think of the characteristics of your customers as both a diverse blend of flavors
and a target audience with uniquely different tastes. What can you do to decipher
the combination of characteristics that optimally differentiate your customers from
the overall population? In other words, how do you tell an empty-nester “Cherry
Garcia” type of customer apart from a single, urban-dwelling “Bohemian
Raspberry” style of customer? A good place to start is by expanding the variety
of data elements that are appended to your customer database. With rich and creamy
data you can conduct a deeper analysis that churns out the most significant and tasty
Experian Marketing Services offers hundreds of varieties of data elements that
can be used for customer analysis and precision targeting. The possibilities go well
beyond standard gender, age and income classifications. Try becoming more adventurous
by utilizing such premium elements as Discretionary Spend
Estimates (DSE), Premiere Summarized Credit Statistics, Financial Personalities®,
SpendSense® spend-based segmentation, or lifestyle segments derived from Mosaic®
USA. Many of these elements incorporate transactional and behavioral data attributes.
By the way, analysis of data from Experian Simmons shows Mosaic USA segments that
are among the heaviest consumers of ice cream (five or more quarts in the past 30
days) include Family Troopers, Settled in Suburbia and Cul-de-Sac Diversity.
The ice cream industry experts say it takes an average of 50 licks to polish off
a single-scoop ice cream cone. Let’s say that a “lick” is the equivalent
of extracting a single demographic or lifestyle characteristic from your customer
database. Then how many licks of the data are available to you for polishing off the
clearest view of your key customers?
About the Author
Bill Schneider, senior director of Solutions Support and Analytical Consulting
services at Experian Marketing Services, challenges marketers to take an “outside-in”
approach to understanding their customer’s spending behavior to improve marketing
acquisition strategies. Schneider has over 25 years of experience in the database
and direct marketing industries. He has worked with clients from various industries
including retail, financial services, sports and recreation, telecommunications, hospitality,
and non-profit organizations.