Tim PullanToday’s tough economy puts marketers under stiffer pressure to justify their expenses, giving marketing relevance a higher priority more than ever. Experian a global leader in providing information, analytical and marketing services, has been building and refining for more than 20 years, enterprise-wide solutions that combine data intelligence, predictive analytics, decision-enabling technologies, strategy optimization and consulting services to enrich client data in order to address exactly those marketers with increasing concerns on backing-up their decision-making analytically. To no surprise, the company managed to become a worldwide trusted partner with leading organizations like IBM, American Express, Yahoo!, eBay or Procter & Gamble to name a few, as they seem to understand their client’s objectives, challenges and opportunities.

Since 2002, Experian has expanded through organic development, as well as through strategic acquisitions that totaled so far more than 50 at a cost of over $4bn. These included the acquisition in 2002 of ConsumerInfo.com, which strengthened their presence in the direct-to-consumer market and formed the foundation of their Interactive business; in 2003 stakes in Scorex were acquired, a global decision analytics company; and in 2005 the acquisition of PriceGrabber.com provided further strength to the Interactive business. In 2006, the company acquired ClarityBlue to complement the database management skills of their Marketing Solutions business and most recent acquisitions include Hitwise, an Internet market intelligence company, and Serasa, the leading credit bureau in Brazil.

I had the honor to meet Mr. Tim Pullan, who was Commercial Director of ClarityBlue UK, before becoming Managing Director of Experian Marketing Analytics Asia Pacific this year as well as Mr. Tony Mooney, Managing Director of Experian Marketing Analytics in the UK for an interview that should give more insights into Experian Marketing Analytics (EMA).

Tony MooneyThe duo put first on record that the core of Experian’s bfusiness are comprehensive databases of credit and marketing information on consumers and businesses, which are supported by proprietary analytical tools for interpreting this data, that has been derived from both public and private sources. With the operation of 15 consumer credit bureaus and nine business credit bureaus around the world, and information on approximately 400 million consumers and 30 million businesses, the company seems to maintain more detailed information about consumers than any of their competitors in the information solutions industry. Experian supports clients in more than 65 countries and is even serving some of them for more than 25 years. With around 15,500 employees in 38 countries, Experian excels in providing information, analytical tools and marketing services to help manage the risk and reward of commercial and financial decisions. Their Regional Delivery Centre (RDC) in Asia Pacific is able to deliver fast and effective response to all kinds of analytical needs, as the company has a good team, industry intelligence and extensive experiences in strategy analysis and optimization at their disposal. Mr. Pullan elaborated on their end-to-end marketing solution Experian Marketing Analytics (EMA), explaining that it enables marketers to identify and reach targeted customers and measure campaign results across multiple channels quickly and more effectively than anything seen before. It is an integrated data analytics designed to optimize the speed and result of marketing campaigns and its flexible platform works with different technology, business and marketing components and supports the most time-to-market campaigns throughout the marketing lifecycle as seen.

Picture: EMA’s integrated consultancy across every stage of the marketing lifecycle

“Backed by the power of data, Experian’s industry experts help clients to deliver compelling marketing campaigns that speak to the right audience, in just the right way, at just the right time”, says Mr. Pullan. Their technology and specialist services enable organizations to understand their customers better and use that understanding to target, attract and retain profitable customers as well as support strategic and operational decisions. So Experian consultants are:

  • working with clients strategically to develop innovative data-based approaches to their business problems
  • rapidly designing, building and often managing large-scale, high-performance data solutions
  • delivering insight and analytics as solutions, services or co-sourcing
  • providing marketing strategy consultancy
  • focusing on best practice and helping to improve the client’s business performance
  • supporting and managing large and complex marketing programs and campaigns

The core technology of EMA is the so called “Elements suite”, a high performance data integration solution that enables organizations to implement a single customer view from multiple data sources much faster than traditional data warehousing techniques. It provides further real-time data analysis and predictive modeling tools and enables multi-channel campaign management, reporting and execution with velocity and relevance.

The Experian Marketing Services suite key measurement tools include:

  • Multichannel response analysis: an integrated view of the performance of all direct marketing campaigns to help marketers optimize their marketing mix;
  • Email campaign performance monitoring: opens, click-through and conversion metrics measure the true value of email campaigns;
  • Online competitive intelligence: online usage, search behavior and click-stream analysis allow organizations to benchmark their online success against competitors;
  • In-store traffic management: monitoring the change in visitor numbers helps facilitate leasing decisions, balance store staffing demands, attracting more customers and benchmarking performance.

With the support of Experian’s service, organizations are able to create and execute targeted communication strategies using the right channel, at the right time and to the right audience which the mainly achieve by:

  • Fact-based contact strategies: analytics, modeling, consulting, as well as a test and optimize approach to help businesses match the best message, offer, media and timing for their communication programmes to optimise results;
  • Digital marketing services: feature-rich e-mail, online, SMS and MMS mobile marketing capabilities deliver permission-based communications that are highly relevant and as individualised as the customers;
  • Database and campaign management: organisations are able to manage both online and offline campaigns by using database and campaign management solutions including campaign selection, execution and measurement.

Asked how Experian finds the right balance between using tools and using their staff’s own thoughts and judgment for analysis, Tony Mooney explained: “We could supply only service, only data or anything else, depending on whatever the clients wants.” But rather than having bits and pieces he suggests the whole “database, process, people approach”. “That’s of course complicated, expensive and difficult to manage but we get you where you want to be and actually much quicker, as you can buy a complete solution which comprises database, people as well as processes which is our most advanced integrated offer called “Experian Marketing Analytics”, he said. Praising Asian markets to be more open for trying out new things compared to Europe and US, with an impressive willingness to learn and the advantage to profit from the many mistakes and huge amount of money wasted by companies overseas, while carefully watching out to not repeat the same errors, we will see how the company will succeed in the region.

By Daniela La Marca