Data and Analytics

From “Pain to Gain” – Transforming Disparate Data into a Revenue-Generating Resource

From “Pain to Gain” – Transforming Disparate Data into a Revenue-Generating Resource

June 01, 2023 | Zahra Piggott

Here’s a thorny question…and your response may impact the future of your business in today’s uncertain economy. Is your customer data helping you, or hurting you? 

Specifically, are you using it to better understand your customers’ needs, wants, and preferences, and then delivering on those expectations? Is it providing clear and accurate insights into your operational performance, and showing you faster, more direct paths to revenue? Or…is it sitting idly in separate systems, growing more stale and outdated by the minute? 

These are tough questions for a reason. Disparate, disconnected data is often the elephant in the room. It’s the origin of untold operational pain points and a root cause of lackluster customer experiences. Ultimately, it’s the antithesis of a competitive edge, as nothing will sink a business into irrelevance faster than a lack of tailored, predictive insights. At least not in today’s high-speed, digital marketplace. 

If you’re struggling with your data, this article can help. We explore a different approach—the concept of keying and linking— and how it can ease common data management & entity resolution challenges by putting “always connected,” big-picture customer insights at your fingertips, while also helping you get high-performing analytic projects to market in record time. 

The painful, high cost of disparate data.

What’s the average annual price tag of poor data quality according to Gartner? $12.9 million. Let that sink in for a minute and think about what that number might be for your business. 

Also, messy data can unnecessarily complicate business operations, while driving poor decision-making, leading to even higher costs. In a volatile economy, no company can afford to pay that price. 

When data is siloed, or stored in different systems that don’t communicate with each other, it’s hard to make sense of it and derive strategic, go-forward insights. For example, if marketing and risk are working from different systems that hold different types of data, they only have partial views of the customer which hurts their ability to engage customers. Yet, this sort of disconnect is the root of much bigger problems.  

  • A disjointed, underwhelming customer experience. Customers expect seamless experiences that acknowledge their history to date with your company, including in-person and online. But, if you can’t access and connect their data across your business, you can’t see the big picture. You won’t understand where they are right now or where they’ve been, much less what they want or need next. This puts you at a disadvantage, making your business look slow, out of touch and steps behind the customer—and your competitors. 

  • Subpar marketing. Personalized, “in-moment” marketing based on a customer’s lifestyle, preferences and ability to pay is becoming table stakes today. If you’re not doing it, you’ll soon be left behind. According to McKinsey, “Seventy-one percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. And 76 percent get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.” But if your data is siloed, outdated or full of messy, duplicate files, you can’t personalize anything except their name (and you better cross your fingers you get that right!).  

  • Slow, underperforming analytics. Data experts spend nearly 40 percent of their time cleansing and prepping data for analytic projects, according to a 2022 survey. This often involves aligning and standardizing disparate data sources. It’s a time-consuming, yet necessary, task that can understandably slow down deployment. Yet, the longer it takes to get your analytic project to market, the more missed opportunities and increased risk you can expect. It can also shorten the model’s peak performance window, given today’s unsteady economy. Put simply, delays cost money. 

The issues tied to disparate data extend to other key areas of business including:

  •  onboarding, 

  • origination, 

  • risk mitigation and more. 

The common thread is this: without holistic, connected views of your customers, you’ll pay a big price one way or another. 

A better approach: keying and linking.  

There’s a better way to manage your data. One that puts 360-degree customer views at your fingertips for smarter, more productive marketing. It puts enriched data for faster, more predictive marketing analytics. It’s the foundation of high performing campaigns and offers, increased marketing ROI and intelligent business growth, in any market. 

Entity Management starts with the keying and linking capabilities within Equifax Ignite for Prospecting. You can unify and connect your customer data across all areas of your business within a single, cloud-based analytics environment, creating a single source of truth. So, instead of juggling multiple customer profiles associated with different systems, names, or households, you’re effortlessly maintaining a single, continuously updated and enriched profile for every prospect and customer across your business. 

It's an elegant solution that simplifies everything and does the job in far less time than traditional record-matching solutions. Once implemented, the process is fully automated with capabilities related to: 

  • Reference-based matching

Quickly and accurately connect similar and dissimilar records using Equifax match rules that reference historical data.

  • Key assignment process

Return an individual, household and address key on every record processed, enabling accurate tracking and consolidation of customer or prospect information.

  • Key maintenance

Identify any changes in data so that you have the freshest view of your customer regardless of discrepancies in name, address, or occupancy.

  • Data stability

Access stable and fresh information, since Equifax owns most of the data in the reference file and regularly corroborates with third-party sources as needed.

The power of third-party data.

Apart from streamlining your internal data management, keying and linking can also help you easily ingest external data from third parties so you can build a deeper understanding of your customers. This can include nuanced details and behaviors such as their capacity to spend, their likelihood of buying what you’re selling, their wealth and lifestyle, their employment, income and more. 

Equifax Ignite for Prospecting is data agnostic with built-in keying and linking capabilities that do the work for you, automatically connecting it to the right customer profiles and refreshing it to ensure you’re working with the most up-to-date insights. 

This is a game-changer.  By simply widening your lens to better understand customer interactions, purchase behaviors, preferences, and more, you can: 

  • See emerging risks and opportunities that might otherwise go unnoticed.  

  • Better predict future needs and make “next best” offers.

  • Identify, model and target your most profitable customer segments.

  • Extend personalized offers over a customer’s preferred mix of marketing channels. 

  • Recognize customers who are at risk of leaving and intervene quickly. 

  • Anticipate shifts in demand and recognize emerging trends.

In other words, having deeper, more connected views of your customers can help you visualize and focus on what matters most to your business. That way you can intelligently pivot your strategies to target your best audiences, at the best moments, with your best offers, over the best mix of marketing channels.   

More predictive analytics, made easier.

Analytic insights can be a tremendous business differentiator in today’s fluid marketplace. You get these insights from your prospecting models, scores, and other sources. But when these analytic tools are powered by messy data, it skews everything. Your strategies, target audiences and offers become diluted and far less effective when your data isn’t optimized. 

The keying and linking technology within Equifax Ignite continuously updates and organizes your data, creating a strategic, high-performing organizational asset that’s “always on” and ready to fuel your analytic projects. Instead of getting bogged down in data prep, you simply pick and choose the data and attributes to include in your projects and move forward. What’s more, Equifax Ignite for Prospecting also includes a direct feedback loop that returns the outcomes of your prospecting campaigns into the Equifax Ignite analytic environment, so you can immediately make smart adjustments based on the results you’re seeing. 

Taken together, these capabilities can help you: 

  • Get prospecting models and scores to market faster, meaning weeks versus months.

  • Make quick adjustments based on changing customer behaviors and economic conditions. 

  • Increase conversions, while reducing cost-per-acquisition with “always optimized” models and strategies.

  • Easily experiment with new models, offers, marketing strategies, and more using the feedback loop.  

At the end of the day, working with disparate and disconnected data is a pain. It can prevent you from having a full view of your customers and cripples your ability to get ahead of opportunities, risk, and emerging trends. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can easily link your internal data together with third-party sources to build a wider, more holistic view of your customers by using the keying and linking technology within Equifax Ignite for Prospecting. You’ll build better, more actionable views of your customers’ wants, needs, and preferences and gain the confidence to move your business forward with agility and intelligence amid a fast-changing economic landscape. 

Zahra Piggott

Zahra Piggott

Emerging Markets Marketing Leader

Zahra Piggott is the Emerging Markets Marketing Leader at Equifax. With nearly 25 years of marketing experience, Zahra is a strategic marketing partner who successfully tailors B2B marketing initiatives to emerging industries that increase company profitability, brand awareness and customer acquisition. Zahra earned he[...]