Third-party data: The missing piece to solve your customer profile puzzle

It’s difficult to finish a puzzle when you’re missing pieces. Yet, this is exactly what brands have been trying to do for years with incomplete customer profiles. The result? Media waste, irrelevant messaging, low engagement, or worse... lost customers. Fortunately, as one retailer found, there are data solutions to fill in the gaps, maximize contacts across channels, and ultimately impact the bottom line.

Gathering the first-party data pieces

This retailer of teen casual apparel and accessories was struggling to understand the people behind their purchases. They had limited demographic data and address information and were relying heavily on email addresses alone.

Their first attempt to find the missing pieces was a smart one; launching a loyalty program to build their first-party data. While the loyalty program helped accelerate customer data collection, there were still gaps. According to the retailer's Senior Manager of CRM & Loyalty, “We not only wanted to understand how a customer shopped at [our store], but what they looked like outside of our store to tell a clear story of who each person is.” 

Who were their best customers? What did they look like? What do they value? How can the brand deliver it? These questions guided the retailer as they engaged Epsilon to help find the remaining pieces.

You complete me

The solution began with the foundational element of filling in missing contact information on the retailer’s customer file. Using Epsilon’s Contact Complete, a customizable solution to cleanse and increase match keys on all consumers, the retailer added name and address to their email-only records. This enabled them to grow their mailing address database from 1 million to 4 million customers. Then, they used Epsilon’s TotalSource Plus (TSP), the top-ranked consumer database in the U.S. with insight into 250 million consumers, to enrich their customer profiles with key demographic and lifestyle data.

You had me at hello

After the puzzle pieces fell into place, the retailer was able to create and implement an extremely successful direct mail campaign. The campaign drove incremental sales, moved more customers from single channel experiences to omnichannel ones and grew overall customer spend and frequency. The Senior Manager elaborates, “Prior to expanding our mailing address database, direct mail was out of reach for us. Now, we can create measurable impact with a disruptive marketing tactic. We’ve since introduced direct mail as an ongoing campaign.”

The retailer also used the newly discovered insights to inform other decisions across their business. For example, they learned more than 40% of their customer base is multicultural and are more likely to be Spanish speaking. They applied this insight to their brand-level strategy by choosing models that customers could relate to. They also discovered nearly one-third of their customer base are parents. This changed how they market their products—especially for back-to-school season. The retailer made sure to tailor their messaging and offers to something parents would be receptive to as they were often buying for their kids.

Ultimately, investing in customer profile enrichment with Epsilon was a huge win for the apparel and accessories retailer, whose rep says, “Partnering with Epsilon helped us unlock who our customers are…and we were able to do some incredible things.” Puzzle complete.


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