What is data enrichment?

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Data Enrichment Tools

Why are data enrichment tools important?

Using your customer data effectively can be hard. In recent years, the power and utility of data-driven marketing and insights has become more and more apparent. From multinational chains to local retailers, it seems like everyone has started setting up customer data systems of their own and adopting a more data-driven, customer-centric mindset to improve results.

Every manager, business owner, and employee likes to think they know their customers. They chat with shoppers, watch them as they browse products, and maybe even learn some names and faces. When you step into the world of customer data, however, this familiarity can seem to disappear. You’ll look through the data and not see real people, but behaviors and stats. One person shops with you every Friday; another regularly makes purchases twice as large as the average shopper; yet another has returned five different items this month.

All these floating data points are extremely valuable, but are often only fragmented glimpses of real people with real wants, needs, and preferences. To really understand customers and accurately and effectively listen to and work for them, you need to fill in the empty gaps. For businesses just starting out with data, or whose business model is such that obtaining and combining comprehensive data mosaics is difficult, this can be a challenging task.

For these companies and any brand trying to get a clearer look into the mind of their customers, the solution is something called data enrichment. Data enrichment tools pull in data from outside sources to augment the info you already have. This results in a more complete single customer view so you can better understand what they want and how to give it to them.

In this article, we’ll go over everything businesses should know about data enrichment: how it’s done, where the extra data comes from, how it’s used, and why it’s important. In the world of data, enough is never enough, and enrichment can make a huge difference in how you connect with customers and how they engage with your business.

Data enrichment techniques

Data enrichment involves taking external or third-party data and figuring out how to fit it in with your own data for a more complete view of the customer. Depending on the kind of info you deal with and the types of outside data you have access to, data enrichment techniques can vary widely.

Enrichment can be used for customer segmentation purposes. Location and address data can be supplemented by demographic info from a third party, such as Experian’s Mosaic data, to reveal different groups within your consumer base. Location has a bearing on things like income, family background and structure, vocation, and a host of other things which all affect how they shop with you. Using enrichment to segment your database is the first step in being able to more effectively measure and improve your marketing effectiveness to all types of customers.

Another method is using demographic data for localization. Businesses with many different brick-and-mortar locations or ecommerce businesses that sell globally deal with many different kinds of customers. Having access to localized data about shopping preferences and popular trends in each different area can help diversify and personalize your marketing strategies so you can reach out to your local shoppers more effectively.

Data enrichment isn’t just for retail either. Business-to-business enterprises make use of it all the time, and CRM data enrichment is a huge industry. This can help augment data about professional clients to help sales teams better understand how clients are likely to behave in sales cycles and pipelines and what kinds of approaches and tactics are likely to drive up their win rate.

Enrichment techniques and applications are endless, but these data enrichment best practices are a few of the most common ways this extra data can be put to use.

Data enrichment companies

So where is all this supplemental data coming from? Because of the importance of getting a clear and complete data picture of your consumer base, many companies have made it their mission to provide this extra info to businesses. It’s a lucrative industry, and these data enrichment companies are experts at filling in the gaps.

Some of the top data enrichment companies include Salesforce, Clearbit, and Experian. These companies gather data from a wide variety of sources including surveys, ad campaigns, and other businesses. Compiling all this data together gives subscribing businesses access to a much larger info pool than could ever be obtained by themselves. Specialized tools then feed this supplementary knowledge into your own customer data platform (CDP) and figure out how to apply it and integrate it with what you already know based on your direct relationship with customers.

Lexer is an industry leader in customer data and experience management. We partner directly with Experian, offering a pre-packaged software bundle which seamlessly integrates Experian Mosaic data with the rest of our analytics, segmentation, targeting, and measurement tools. Along with our third-party data enrichment, we also enrich profiles with predictive attributes such as churn risk to help you improve retention rates. This can save a lot of time and energy on setup and compatibility testing, making Lexer a perfect choice for companies who need fast and easy access to big data on their customers or just want to cover any blind spots in their existing systems and databases.

Data enrichment examples

To get a clearer picture of how this process works in the real world, let’s look at some data enrichment examples.

A home goods store with an online presence has been able to determine which of its customers has the highest customer lifetime value and has used delivery data to link these individuals with addresses. Using the data enrichment records of a company it partners with, it determines that these customers are from a higher income neighborhood where residents are more likely to purchase luxury goods. The store begins carrying and marketing more high-end pieces of furniture and decor, and this group ends up buying them in large numbers, improving retention rates and driving revenue.

For B2B data enrichment, imagine a company which specializes in marketing software and tools. When the company receives a new client, they do research manually to determine what the business’s likely goals are and how they’ll want to be pitched to. Using data enrichment, the company is able to learn how the new client has behaved in sales cycles with other providers and is able to more intelligently appoint sales reps who are familiar with similar kinds of deals. The new client is more receptive and satisfied and the deal is eventually closed.

These are just hypothetical examples, but they indicate just how quickly and noticeably business can improve with the help of enrichment tools and customer data partners.

Data enrichment services

There are many different facets of the enrichment process, and different companies offer various kinds of data enrichment services.

Some companies, like those mentioned above, source data from hundreds of different places, compiling personal info, demographic stats, and anything that could be of use for a variety of businesses and industries. These consumer data providers use data farms or large cloud platforms to keep all this knowledge in one place, in essence creating an all-encompassing customer database.

Other companies focus on integrating this data with the info you already have. Figuring out what kinds of enrichment data fit with your customer base and how can be a complex process. AI and machine learning tech and software programs work to tie it all together and generate the key insights your company needs to flourish.

Still others work directly on obtaining the vast quantities of information which go into the digital databases. These companies send out surveys to collect customer information, look at the data of various businesses, and figure out what’s important to know.

Together, these companies generate, organize, and integrate this information into your own business’s customer data platform. Often, companies will tackle more than one of these steps, and the result is easier enrichment for subscribing businesses.

Data enhancement vs. data enrichment

When talking about the process of adding third-party data to your own databases, the question of data enhancement vs. data enrichment may come up. In regular parlance, these terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a minute distinction which can be helpful to be aware of.

Data enrichment refers specifically to the process of augmenting your own data with data obtained from someone else. Data is enriched when it is supplemented by other information you had no way of getting at before.

Data enhancement works on the problem of integrating these two spheres of information. Knowing how much an individual bought last month may seem completely unrelated to the fact that residents of a particular neighborhood tend to fall within a younger and less wealthy income bracket. Data enhancement figures out what the proven or most likely relations between disparate data points are and leverages the result. Figuring out that the customer above only bought three items and spent under $100 last month because they have a lower income and live in a cheaper neighborhood is what data enhancement is all about.

In short, data enrichment allows for data enhancement. Neither can take place without the other, and though you might swap the terms around sometimes, knowing they are two interrelated processes is an important thing to understand when looking to up your data game.

Consumer data enrichment

Even with all that can be achieved through consumer data enrichment, filling in the blanks of your own database is not the end goal.

Putting all the puzzle pieces together gives a clearer picture of your customers themselves. You can learn what they like, what their needs are, and what they prefer to see in and get from a shopping experience. Once new insights are generated from your enlarged data pool, management and business leaders can set to work instituting changes which will better cater to the needs of customers. This means new personalized ad campaigns, discounts and memberships, new and expanded product lines, and much more. Happier customers means better sales, and data enrichment is just one of the key steps in the journey to satisfaction-driven success.

Lexer’s customer data & experience platform offers some of the most comprehensive data enrichment services in the industry. We enrich customer profiles with Experian Mosaic data, predictive analytics, and data from custom-built surveys and questionnaires. With an enriched single customer view, maintained in real-time and accessible across all platforms, you can genuinely engage customers and drive profitable growth.

Click here to learn the 15 reasons customers choose Lexer as their CDP vendor.

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