Let’s say a customer visits their favorite supermarket and frequently buys fish, especially salmon. But they don’t buy much meat. That means they must prefer surf over turf. Or does it? What their grocer doesn’t know is that this same customer has a favorite butcher shop where they buy the majority of their red meat, especially filet mignon. Now here’s the rub. The supermarket keeps sending this customer special offers for seafood. That seems to make sense. From tracking their purchase transactions, the store knows they buy a boatload of fish. But what they really should be doing is luring the customer in with offers for fresh meat. Simply put, there’s way more profit to be made by capturing a greater share of the customer’s meat expenditures than there is in selling them more fish.

For many years now marketers have been relying on transactonal data for understanding the purchase behaviors of their customers. The tried and true benefits of RFM marketing have been with us for as long as marketers have collected and stored purchase data inside of vast customer databases. This information gives marketers a window into the past, present, and likely future purchase characteristics of a large segment of their customers.

But what is generally lacking is information regarding a customer’s external expenditures. These are purchase behaviors that are hidden from view because they occur at the store down the street or at some other competitor. For instance, a retailer of women’s apparel might have a good idea of the total spend within the past 12 months for a large portion of its customers. But what does this cumulative purchase amount represent as a share of the customer’s total wallet for women’s apparel? And what is the customer’s upside potential for sales of women’s shoes?

Too many marketers use transactional data with an “inside-out” approach. That means they study their own internal transactional information and then push out offers based on inferences about the likely future behaviors of their customers. The problem is that this approach only addresses one side of the transactional story. In my supermarket example, the grocer is blind to my purchase behaviors outside the walls of his store. By using an “outside-in” approach instead, the marketer can begin to leverage knowledge regarding my external purchase behaviors (the other side of the transactional story) and then pull me back in with offers designed to capture a greater share of my category expenditures.

An “outside-in” strategy is now possible using new spending estimates available on ConsumerView℠. Historical spending data gives marketers greater visibility into customer behavior by appending spend indices based on actual transaction data. The spend indices allow marketers to view customers’ likelihood to spend based on age, gender and Zip+4 across more than 50 industry and lifestyle categories.

Analysis of internal transactions (looking from the “inside-out”) combined with spending insights (looking from the “outside-in”) provides marketers with a more complete and balanced view of how their customers are behaving. To put improve your customer retention and acquisition marketing campaigns, and to learn more about the benefits of spending data on ConsumerView, contact your local Experian sales representative or call 1 800 918 8960.

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