Your data is a resource. Can you afford not to use it?

Filed in: 2011 Census, Data Updates, General News, Popular Posts

January 23, 2017

“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine”

– Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner

Big data is transforming the way businesses understand and interact with customers. Analysing large datasets enables businesses to identify and work on the details that enhance customer experience, focus on the types of people that are interested in our products or services and improve operational efficiency.

Beacon Dodsworth logo above a blackboard displaying datasets

Your customer data

Most businesses collect data. Nearly every time you make a transaction a database is updated. Information about every new customer, every sale and every support call is an asset if correctly used. Many large organisations run loyalty schemes and use sophisticated data mining techniques to understand customer behaviour, identify buying trends and recognise sales opportunities. They have departments dedicated to the extraction and analysis of business data to improve the efficiency of marketing and sales processes, enhance customer experience and to target customers with relevant offers which many consumers have come to expect.

While small businesses may not have data mining capabilities, the customer or location data they have recorded over the years can still be used to promote and improve their business. From simple lists of store locations to fully fledged buying profiles your data can be used to understand customer behaviour and drive sales.

Understanding your customers

To learn more about where your customers live you can geocode your customer data. This means using postcodes to identify and visualise the location of your customers. The matching of your customer record to a physical location means further data such as Census outputs, demographic classifications or expenditure surveys can be used to model customer behaviours. Your customer’s physical location means you can work out how far they are prepared to travel to visit your store. Coupling this with Census data will show how well you are reaching your target market by comparing your visitor numbers to total adults counts in your catchment.

Using a demographic classification such as P2 People & Places means you can profile your customers and identify some key characteristics such as: household composition, employment type or grade, incomes, or even commuting methods. These characteristics can then be used to find similar people elsewhere. As demographic classifications also provide counts for people or households they can be used to describe your market penetration more accurately.

You can also use expenditure survey data to identify the total market for the types of products you supply. Analysis of your sales will tell you how much market share you have.

York Drive time for using data BARTS 800
30 minute drive time around York.

GIS mapping software such as Prospex will enable you to map the location of your stores and see the size of your potential market. Viewing your data in a GIS will give you a geographical perspective and develop your understanding of how customers interact with your business in a spatial context. There are many tools available in Prospex GIS such as Time Travel which can be used to display drive time areas around your store locations. If you assumed or even identified that most of your customers would travel less than 30 minutes to get to a store, you can show areas within 30 minutes of that store location. Combining these areas with your customer locations will show where your marketing might need improving.

Unlock the potential in your customer data

The question isn’t ‘Should you be using customer data?’
It is ‘How do you start using your customer data’?

To unlock the value in your customer data, you can start by using a basic postcode list and a demographic classification such as P2 People & Places. Beyond this first stage of analysis, there is a wide range of information that we can provide such as drive time coverage and thematic penetrations through to index profile graphs showing who your target P2 types are.

If you’d like to do the mapping and analysis in-house we can provide Prospex GIS and P2 People & Places geodemographic classification with tailored training and support so you will become the experts.

We also provide a consultancy service which is a cost-effective solution for businesses that don’t have the time or resource available to do mapping and analysis. It’s ideal for businesses to use on an adhoc basis or as support for projects.

To discuss more about unlocking the potential in your customer data give us a call on 01904 701020.

Here are examples of how P2 People & Places can be used to find new customers.




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Beacon Dodsworth Ltd.
5 Middlethorpe Business Park, Sim Balk Lane, Bishopthorpe, York. YO23 2BD
Tel. +44 (0)1904 701020 email info@beacon-dodsworth.co.uk

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