Our Products and Services
Experian provides various data services which support organisations in their marketing activities. To varying extents, the creation and provision of these services by Experian to our clients relies on the use of personal data.
Our marketing services can be categorised broadly as follows:
What are prospect services?
We provide contact data to organisations for marketing purposes. The channels through which we enable our clients to market to you include postal, email and digital marketing. Experian does not provide landline or mobile numbers to organisations for the purposes of telemarketing or SMS marketing.
How do we do it?
- Postal marketing - We provide our clients with appropriately permissioned names and addresses to support postal direct mail communication to potential new customers or users.
- Email marketing - We do not provide lists of contact emails directly to third party organisations. We only obtain email addresses so we can enrich these with additional insight to determine groups of individuals who might be interested in an organisations’ product or service. The sending of the email to communicate offers from relevant brands or organisations is sent to you directly by the organisation you gave your consent to be contacted with email marketing offers.
- Digital marketing - We work with organisations to inform relevant advertising through publisher websites, apps, social media and other digital channels such as addressable TV advertising. We do not serve the ad to you ourselves – the publisher (e.g. the social media site or the media website) will do this based on the consent they have obtained from you to communicate with them. Instead, we support more relevant advertising and positive consumer experience through a combination of helping to identify consumers and devices more precisely online and providing additional insight about them to create groups of consumers who are likely to be appropriate for the digital communication.
If you would like to object to your personal data being used by Experian clients for prospecting services, you can opt-out by following the steps described on our Data Subject Rights page.
What is segmentation and profiling?
A ‘segmentation’ is a way of describing a large set of people, households, and areas by dividing them into smaller groups that have similar or related characteristics - while maximising the difference between these groups.
Nearly every organisation in the UK uses segmentation techniques in some form or other allowing them to communicate with individual groups more appropriately.
Increasingly, we use data to help our clients define segments for digital marketing, where brands are looking to place relevant advertising and marketing communication with Experian partners who sell advertising space online.
How does it work?
Experian’s segmentation products, of which the most widely used is Mosaic, are quite simple in concept.
In the case of Mosaic segmentation, we take anonymised and aggregate data from a variety of compliant sources and use statistical techniques to create a series of “types” that are likely to contain households with similar demographics, lifestyles and behaviours.
When the solution is finalised, those types are assigned to every household and postcode in the UK, and can be used to:
- understand the likely characteristics of consumers, if their household address or resident postcode is known
- understand the likely characteristics of a geographical area such as a store catchment or a local authority area
None of the data inputs can be linked back to individual households or postcode areas – it is only the Mosaic type that is assigned and thousands of UK adults belong to each Mosaic type.
Once the Mosaic types have been created, we provide the types with names (e.g. ‘J42 – Midlife Stopgap’), and rich descriptions to describe the likely characteristics of the households or postcodes falling within them.
Our clients in the commercial world use these types or segments to understand the likely characteristics of their existing customers to ensure they are communicating relevantly to them or to find potential new customers who fall into the Mosaic types in which their existing customer are concentrated. Outside of the commercial world, the emergency services use segmentation to identify the types who are most at risk from crime or fires and public service organisations use it to direct resource to the most appropriate groups of the population.
What is modelled data?
Experian modelled data provides extensive insight on UK individuals, households and geographic locations; allowing marketers to enrich data they have lawfully obtained in order to provide improved consumer outcomes, and where permission to contact the individual is obtained by the organisation by nature of the individual being an opted-in customer.
How does it work?
Experian uses anonymised data sources, including market research surveys to build these attributes and models (‘propensities’) using statistical techniques. In the case of marketing research data, this represents aggregated responses to surveys, and is anonymised before use – similar responses are grouped together and aggregated so that individual respondents cannot be identified from the data.
We extrapolate the model across the UK population and the resulting models indicate the likelihood that an individual, household or geographic area exhibits certain characteristics and behaviours. For example, the likelihood of an individual being a short break holiday traveller, or the likelihood an area has lots of people who might like to hear about a new restaurant opening.
Any model cannot be a measure of absolute certainty but rather provides insight to our clients around what offers or services might be most relevant to the group they are communicating with.
What is data linkage and identity?
In a marketing context, ‘linkage’ means connecting data from different online and offline sources to consistently identify an individual, household, location or device – bringing together fragmented data into a coherent, consistent view of a client’s customers. Our linkage database is simply a look up of various ways of identifying an individual or the household / area in which they live - such as name, postal address, email address, location, device ID, IP address.
Traditionally, our marketing services have helped organisations communicate to individuals in an offline context. For example, through postal marketing. Increasingly, however, linkage services are enabling organisations to communicate relevantly with individuals or groups of individuals through digital channels such as email, social media or even addressable TV.
How does it work?
Through our linkage file, by drawing a link between online identifiable data and Experian’s offline demographic, attribute, segmentation and modelled data, we can enrich digital identifiers, enabling insight to be applied. For example, to an email address or to create a relevant audience for a digital marketing campaign where the publisher or social media platform has the permission to send marketing communications.
Our linkage data allows organisations to create a single view of their customers when they might appear in disparate data sources with various identifiers. This allows them to communicate consistently across any channel and to provide a better customer experience however you choose to engage with them. A good example here would be making sure a retailer who has physical stores, a website, an app and a social media presence, provides you with a consistent experience and set of offers across all these contact points.
Our identity and data cleansing services allow us to check an individual’s details against other information obtained about them from other reputable data sources. We may obtain and store some of this additional information and use it to improve the quality and accuracy of the information on an individual. This includes checking the validity of an address against an external list, checking the individual is not on various suppression files such as deceased registers or preference files which prevent direct marketing being sent to individuals registered, or the use of re-direction files to update customer records on our clients’ files (and to protect the individual, a new address will only be provided to the client where permission for marketing exists within Experian’s marketing database).
This all helps us to:
- ensure our records and those of our clients are fully up-to-date and accurate
- that you receive the communication that was intended for you
- avoid misdirecting communications sent by our clients
What is Analytics in the context of marketing?
We work with organisations who share their customer data with Experian where they have permission to do so; in order for Experian to analyse and determine the likely characteristics of their customers, helping to inform their own marketing activities such as direct marketing and location planning.
How does it work?
We undertake custom analytics projects for clients using a range of data that we process – personal data, anonymised individual level data and aggregated data (often relating to geographical areas). Wherever possible, we anonymise personal data so data is not personally identifiable during the analytics work. Examples of the projects we undertake include location planning for retailers or developing customised segmentations using a client’s own customer data.
What are data consortiums?
Experian facilitates data consortiums enabling organisations to pool consumer data and information where appropriate notice has been given, together with other organisations where there is a mutual benefit in doing so and where positive consumer outcomes are created e.g. to allow the organisation to provide a better consumer experience or grant access to relevant offers and services.
How do they work?
Consumer data is shared with Experian where appropriate notice has been given when you signed up or transacted with an organisation. Experian anonymise all personal data, retaining just the associated insights e.g. purchasing history or engagement to a marketing channel in order to develop “models” that predict what products or services may be of interest to you, or the marketing channel that you are most likely to interact with – this modelled data is then passed back to the organisation that communicates with you as a customer, or where permission for relevant third party marketing has been given.
Experian consortiums include:
- Home shopping and direct retailer data consortiums: Containing information and insight on the buying habits of millions of multi-buyers (those who have bought from two or more members). Members provide customer transactional data to Experian with which Experian then builds an anonymised pooled set of ‘multi-buyers’, for whom we know information such as recency, value and types of products purchased. Various aggregated insight reports are then provided back to members and this insight is often used to communicate with new prospects directly from our permissioned marketing databases. No personal data from the home shopping pool is shared with organisations.
- Email consortium: Helping organisations gain insight into subscribers who have consented to receive email communications from them. Consortium members share their subscriber’s personal data including full name, postal address, email address and engagement metrics e.g. when you open or click on an email. All personal data is anonymised and utilised by Experian to connect consortium member’s subscriber and engagement metrics together; to create behavioural models and statistical reports to help members to communicate with you more effectively e.g. sending you relevant offers and services, at the right time on the most appropriate marketing channel(s) and device(s).