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So, what’s changed, and why does it matter?

If there ever was such a thing as normal, the last couple of years definitely haven’t been it. The global pandemic fundamentally changed the way we socialise, work, shop, and access services – all within a few short months.

As the dust finally begins to settle a bit, it may be safest for brands to assume that everything they thought they knew about their customers just a short while ago might no longer apply.

Along with the massive shift to home and remote working, we’ve also seen a major boom in online and mobile retailing and service delivery. This is leading to more direct relationships between brands and customers, with nearly all customer demographics now happy to engage via digital channels.

But while direct customer relationships are great news, rapid change has also brought its fair share of challenges. In particular, many consumers are feeling the pinch due to ongoing economic uncertainty and the rising cost of living.

For businesses, understanding customers’ changing situations and needs is critical. Not only can it help you support them better, but you can also target customer segments that are most likely to continue engaging with you.

In the last few years, there have been major changes to how we work, socialise, and shop – and what you thought you knew about your customers may no longer apply. The good news is that the latest generation of customer profiling solutions can help you keep up with your customers’ needs, stay relevant and competitive, and maximise your commercial performance.
Debbie Oates, Director of Customer Engagement, Experian

The new normal demands new approaches to customer profiling

When it comes to understanding customers’ needs and preferences in turbulent times, effective customer profiling is critical. However, traditional customer profiles are beginning to show their flaws, especially as the pace of change continues unabated.

In particular, customer profiles are often static, which means insight is not aligned with changing customer behaviour. This means that it can be difficult, or even impossible, to keep marketing and business strategies attuned to customer needs over months and years.

To address this challenge, and to access the latest and most comprehensive customer insights, forward-thinking brands are innovating their approaches to customer profiling.
Specifically, they’re looking to:

  1. Integrate third-party research and other valuable data insights

    By integrating third-party data – and especially data from research partners – you can add critical context to your customer profiles.

    Third-party data can tell you, for example, if specific customer segments are ready to return to venues, such as retail stores or restaurants, or if they’re still more comfortable staying at home and ordering online. It can give you a current view of mobility data to help you understand how and where your customers are moving, what kinds of offers might interest them, or whether they’re happy to receive communications from you by email or text – rather than by direct mail.

    Armed with these kinds of insights, you can build targeted marketing campaigns that deliver the greatest possible return on investment (ROI).

  2. Refresh consumer data far more frequently

    In today’s fast-changing markets, updating customer profiles once a year is no longer enough.Instead, forward-looking marketers are looking to update their customer profiles several times a year, to assess shifts in behaviours. Again, linking with third-party research allows an external view of how consumer attitudes are changing outside of brand transactional information.

    Those leading the pack, have developed consumer profile dashboards, based on daily updates, allowing teams to coordinate their efforts around serving customers’ changing needs. This kind of approach allows you to adapt your offers more quickly and ensure that your brand and products stay relevant and competitive.

    Finally, refreshing customer profiles frequently is especially valuable if you’re growing fast, allowing you to gauge the sentiment of even the most recently onboarded customers.

Understand your customers better and find more like them

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Take your customer profiling to the next level with Experian

There’s never been a better time for businesses to revisit their existing customer profiling processes. Direct contact with customers online and on mobile means there’s more data to work with than ever before. What’s more, leading customer profiling partners, such as Experian, can give you access to an array of rich, third-party data sources – including the latest research data – for a 360° view of your customers’ needs and preferences.

To help you deepen your knowledge of customers even further, Experian also helps you enrich your customer data based on highly valuable context and insights from the latest consumer and market research. We also provide the customer profiling frameworks you need to activate consumer insights quickly and effectively.

To find out more about Experian’s customer profiling solutions, and how we help you stay in touch with your customers as their needs change, please contact us today.