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The Next Generation Of Information White Paper

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Life events affect consumers dynamically – they buy new cars, get married, have children and try to keep pace with a busy and complex world. Unfortunately, companies trying to keep pace must often …

Life events affect consumers dynamically – they buy new cars, get married, have children and try to keep pace with a busy and complex world. Unfortunately, companies trying to keep pace must often wait for days and sometimes weeks for static information that reflects nothing about the actions, behaviour and preferences of the consumers they want to reach.

Read on to find out more.

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  • 1. An Acxiom White Paper The Next Generation of Information
  • 2. Introduction To address current business and consumer demands for intuitive information, Acxiom is Life events affect consumers dynamically – they building its next generation InfoBase® platform. buy new cars, get married, have children and try Currently in development, the next generation to keep pace with a busy and complex world. of InfoBase begins with the most robust data Unfortunately, companies trying to keep pace asset – thousands of individual elements – must often wait for days and sometimes weeks available in the industry today. To turn that asset for static information that reflects nothing about into intuition, the new platform provides tools and the actions, behaviour and preferences of the interfaces that let companies design and deliver consumers they want to reach. data to match their unique business flows and solve specific problems. Unique in its ability to New generations of consumers young and old deliver only the data elements that clients specify continue to develop bigger and increasingly more and only when that data changes in ways that are sophisticated appetites for products and services. relevant to the client’s business objectives, the As consumer confidence reaches an all-time low, next generation of InfoBase succeeds in bringing companies that rely on relationships for success data into focus quickly so that it can be used to must respond with products and services that deliver the most effective messages to consumers speak directly to the needs of these “next when, where and how they prefer to be generation” consumers. Information used to contacted. address today’s consumers must be fresh – nobody wants to see that fabulous finance offer Business drivers for the next generation three weeks after the purchase of a new car. Information designed to capture consumer Before companies can provide truly intuitive attention must be accurate – nobody wants and meaningful offers to consumers, they must free nappies in the post as a youngest child resolve significant issues related to how they starts pre-school. access and use information. Focus on the sources And perhaps most importantly, information must be relevant and delivered to people So, where can companies hoping to market at home addresses. Fresh, relevant and successfully to today’s consumers start? meaningful information about consumers The beginning must still be accurate information. drives the requirements for effective marketing. Focus in today’s environment shifts from the amount of available data to the quality and John Naisbitt, business leader and author of meaning of that data. To be effective, data must the Megatrends series, asserts that “intuition reflect the multi-dimensional nature of consumers, becomes increasingly valuable in the new must come from a variety of sources – such as information age precisely because there is so behaviour, lifestyle, life stage and purchase activity much data.” To focus data into true information – and must be accurate. Effective marketing intuition, IT offerings must evolve into next- messages must speak a new language – one built generation solutions that begin with a keen from a rich variety of sources but delivered in understanding of the problems and consumer targeted, seamless and fully integrated ways demands that drive business. designed to ease consumer acceptance.
  • 3. Search for a needle across product and industry lines. Consumers do not split themselves, their time and their assets Companies that rely solely on information updates into separate parts and companies that want to craft their messages to consumers face a to understand the most effective way to deliver problem. In most cases, information updates, holistic marketing messages to these consumers when they come at all, come in the form of large should not do so either. files full of every piece of information known to and about man. The volume of available data What companies need to know about are often clouds its value to businesses trying to turn significant changes in the types of data that information into viable consumer interactions. drive consumers to take action or respond Marketers must sift through masses of information positively to the right message or offering. As with no way to determine what has changed or Nobel Prize winner David Hubel put it, “We need what is relevant to the message for today. above all to know about changes; no one wants or needs to be reminded 16 hours a day that his This needle-in-a-haystack approach makes finding shoes are on.” the right data to craft the right message almost impossible. Standard updates supplied at defined Intuition with impact intervals slow time to market for the most innovative products and often result in after-the- To address the complexities facing many fact offers and responses. As marketers search companies today, the time has come to usher for the ‘needle of truth’, consumers continue in the next generation of information processing living their daily lives and opportunities pass by. solutions that shift focus away from consumer Any competitor with timely access to relevant information organised by product lines to updates with respect to consumers can make information organised by changing events in hay and walk away with the sale. consumers’ lives as they occur; these next generation solutions, from the ground up, Synchronise your watches must be: In addition to what information gets delivered to a • Built to solve specific business problems company, when that information arrives represents An effective information-processing solution a significant factor in its usability and success. must break down product or industry silos In many current information update processes, and enable flexible options modelled to updates are not available for days or weeks wrap around and adapt to the most after the occurrence of an event affecting the vexing problems facing businesses today. consumer. This data latency – the time between when an event occurs and when a company • Defined by business, for business receives an information update – can result in These solutions put power in the hands of too little, too late responses. companies, enabling rapid definition for just the elements and information needed to Separate the wheat target consumers. Data delivery often revolves around artificial • Delivered quickly industry or product lines that have very little to do What formerly took days or even weeks to with a company’s specific business goals. Instead receive gets delivered, more quickly, enabling of receiving information about all consumers companies to make sure that relevant organised by vertical industries, companies need a messages meet their target audiences in way to focus their efforts on specific targets – a time to make the sale. segment of consumers, a particular demographic, a lifestyle change or trigger event – that moves
  • 4. Built to solve specific business problems Next generation solution Consumers don’t care that a car financing system To address shifting business requirements and is built on a different platform than a home equity lead the migration of intuitive information solutions line of credit system. When they are ready to into the next generation, Acxiom is developing its buy, they want the best rates and the most new InfoBase platform. This solution lays the relevant offers, and they want to drive that new foundation for multi-sourced, business-driven car home today. data that responds to changing events. The first step toward creating more accurate, The next generation of InfoBase puts business accessible and relevant data involves finding a requirements and flows at the centre of a three way from inception to define and package that step approach – Build, Event, Deliver. data to target specific business flows. Up to this • Step 1 point, most data providers have looked at data Builds a data structure based on flexible rules solutions in terms of lines of business or specific to identify changes related to specific events industries. The car financing company pulls data and triggers automated responses to ensure and sends offers with great rates but often sends the richest set of individual multi-sourced those offers to people who either just purchased elements or are not in a position to purchase a new car. What companies need is a way to define at • Step 2 the front end, the specific information they are Allows companies to specify data packages looking for so that they can be notified before with elements built around events and or as consumer events occur. targeted at solving business problems Defined by business, for business • Step 3 A next generation solution must allow companies Delivers results automatically and directly to to define the specific elements they want rather companies, with flexible options including a than receiving huge amounts of ill-defined and highly-tuned user interface uncategorised data. With a next generation solution for the car financing company, for example, the company would specify that it wants information about all consumers with a car about to reach pay off status, with a child about to turn 17, with a big promotion to an executive position or with excess income to spend. The data this company receives prompts the company to make relevant offers to the groups of consumers that match this rich event definition – no more sifting through large volumes of unchanged data, no more wasted costs with irrelevant or late marketing messages and no more missed opportunities. Delivered directly The best information tailored to business flows means nothing if it does not reach the hands of the companies that can do something about it. Next generation solutions must highlight delivery mechanisms for getting the right data into the hands of the right companies. Automated processes that deliver select information directly to a company’s user desktops ensure that event rich data is available for use in a timely and effective way.
  • 5. Build a dynamic mouse trap Turn elements into meaningful events The next generation build lays the foundation Life is all about the daily and significant for all other processes to ensure operational events that happen to all of us – from births to efficiencies and enable rapid changes. Not directly graduations to marriages to retirement. Reaching interfacing to companies, the build nonetheless consumers with significant and meaningful provides the framework and utilities required to marketing messages involves knowing about support the definition and delivery of event-rich and understanding these events as they occur. information to companies through the Event The next generation Event component gives and Deliver components. companies the tools – from an easy-to-use subscription interface to e-mail notification The build process makes all data event-driven –needed to keep pace with the marketable data and provides the following benefits: events that occur every day across customer and prospect bases. Event provides the • Ensures the high level of data accuracy following benefits: expected from Acxiom • Puts ultimate flexibility into the hands • Updates the data that is most important of companies to: to companies – Define what is important to them and • Answers specific business problems with determine what constitutes an event flexible rules to identify and process unique – Subscribe to the events that drive elements important business decisions • Enhances interfaces to other systems to – Receive automated notification and updates facilitate seamless integration of multiple to only the subscription data that changes data sources • Enables more frequent updates of information • Provides operational efficiencies that facilitate with change notification for significant events data changes to reduce data latency • Creates additional opportunities for companies • Supports multiple data sources with an to up-sell and cross-sell to their customers open design using fresh and more frequent updates Automating responses received on demand All components in the next generation build are Identifying significant events designed with flexibility and automation in mind. Event enables companies to subscribe to the To deliver unique and targeted data packages specific data elements they need to achieve to order, the build process begins upstream desired business goals. Companies choose to ensure that all rules, product values, from the richest bed of elements in the industry data sources and delivery methods provide compiled from multiple sources to tailor end-to-end automation. information requests on demand. The build lays the foundation to simplify the Company-defined events vary as much as process of sorting through mountains of complex companies’ business goals do. At the introductory data to identify the golden nuggets of events. level, companies can choose from diverse The Build design facilitates fast responses to elements and receive automated raw data requests for specific business data. updates for all selected elements. Intermediary Removing data latency event definitions might include defining thresholds to receive data updates by percentage or types Getting the information companies need is the of changes – for example, companies might first part of the equation for business success; specify that they want to receive an update for getting the information when they need it solves a particular event when it affects 25% of their the problem. By focusing only on the information top-tier customers. that changes from one build to the next, the next generation of InfoBase enables a targeted re-evaluation that makes information available to companies more quickly.
  • 6. At the other end of the spectrum, event-definition Communicating results flexibility enables companies to combine elements, In addition to allowing companies to define the behaviour and life changes to create complex, information they want, the Event process lets multi-dimensional focus on unique business companies define when and where to receive problems. Instead of simply responding to events, information. Event provides multiple methods for companies using next generation Event can receiving notifications and data changes ranging engage in predictive analysis using historical from individual or group e-mail, to automated trends to drive future responses. file processing, to direct program-to-program communication. These methods allow the next Event also works with PersonicX®, Acxiom’s generation InfoBase solution to communicate premiere household-level segmentation system, directly with third-party interfaces including to provide companies with information on when the most critical master data management consumers move from one PersonicX cluster to (MDM) solutions. the next. This alerts companies when something significant happens in their customers’ lives that Setting reminders might prompt changes in purchase behaviour Event provides two levels of reminders – basic and require response. PersonicX clusters provide and advanced ticklers – to maximise the benefits over 52 unique portraits based on multiple of event-based processing. With the basic tickler, characteristics such as consumer demographics companies receive notifications when a category and behaviour. of information changes; they can then decide, based on the type of information and its value, To simplify the definition process, Event also whether to request an information update. provides pre-defined data collection built by Acxiom analysts to organise and group the most The advanced tickler functionality provides even commonly used elements into business-flow more flexibility through a self-serve model that packages that companies can purchase. informs companies when specific elements to Pushing maximum benefits which they subscribe change and allows them to decide when and where to receive updates. Current models for information updates typically This proactive approach to information changes involve scheduled updates at regular intervals. puts a new level of power into companies’ hands Here companies receive large data files which to respond quickly to the many changes that must be sifted through to pinpoint the information occur in consumers’ daily lives. needed. Next generation Event changes the model completely by pushing only the Deliver data directly to the target consumer-event data that companies want. As the final step in a complete event-driven update process, the next generation Deliver The push methodology accelerates market component provides the tools that enable full responses not only by pushing information service, self service and programmatic delivery automatically without specific requests, but also options. An easy-to-use interface puts options by providing only the data that companies need, at companies’ fingertips for getting relevant eliminating the expensive and time-consuming information when and where they want it. Armed effort of culling through volumes of unchanged with the right information, companies can then data to find desired information. craft meaningful consumer interactions that lead to lifetime relationships. Instead of waiting for a file or report at some pre-defined interval, Event takes the relationship Deliver provides the following benefits: between consumer life events and actionable • Adds flexibility to the way companies define responses to the next level. Event identifies and receive data changes in any elements companies define as significant and automatically notifies them • Provides an intuitive, web-based user interface about changes. that lets companies control all aspects of the data they use every day – from acquiring and selecting significant elements to defining orders
  • 7. • Enhances third-party interfaces to create Speeding delivery true interactions and drive a more complete Sometimes the most effective way to achieve consumer view across all potential channels a competitive advantage involves getting there • Speeds time to market with an end-to-end first. Deliver facilitates speed to market and can solution that focuses on real business provide a competitive advantage to companies by problems, not artificial product silos delivering required information in greatly reduced time frames. Focusing on business solutions Same Acxiom service One of the most important benefits of the next generation InfoBase is its ability to wrap A well-designed platform built to solve specific information and deliver data elements around company business requirements addresses only business flows. Historically, data updates half of the equation for information systems in consisted of categories or types of information today’s complex environment; the total equation organised by industry or some type of artificial reads: platform + service = solution. With over 30 product designation. years of experience in the information processing industry, Acxiom understands how to surround The data storage capability for the new InfoBase innovative tools with superior service to achieve platform allows for updates to data and singles optimal results. The next generation services are out elements to support business flows based on no exception. company definitions. The very way that data is Packaging business solutions stored and structured enables a ‘cafeteria’ approach for companies to pick and choose With thousands of possible elements to choose elements and for applications to access data. from, the process of defining and selecting just the elements companies need to achieve the Choosing the right delivery methods desired results can be daunting. Sometimes After solving questions about what data to receive companies know exactly what they want, or need, and when to receive it, companies must decide but not where to find it; sometimes companies on the best delivery mechanism or how to receive know where to find data but not how to define information updates. Deliver provides multiple and combine it to achieve business goals. options for data delivery including, but not limited to, direct program-to-program interfaces for Next generation InfoBase offers industry-specific integrated access by Acxiom or third party packages that combine elements and systems and standard batch processing. recommend update and delivery options, allowing companies to receive updated Serving yourself information promptly, helping drive results that The Deliver component provides an intuitive user achieve their business goals. With the next interface that puts important information choices generation of packaged business solutions, into the hands of companies. Wrapped in an companies can come out of the gate ready easy-to-use, web-based front end, the Deliver to target the most difficult business problems user interface allows companies to define with intuitive information solutions. processing options, select elements for continual Analysing future needs updates and acquire new elements to support business from many disparate sources through In addition to off-the-shelf business solutions, a single cohesive portal. Providing a window Acxiom offers consulting services through its into the next-generation InfoBase platform, team of associates with expertise in database the Deliver front end also enables broker access marketing. With years of experience and the to information. ability to apply effective analytical methods, models and solutions to companies’ business In addition to advanced self-serve models, Deliver problems, Acxiom consultants can help provides the same full-service data delivery that companies define events and drive results differentiates Acxiom in the industry. from a next-generation solution.
  • 8. Next generation scenarios The final phone contact campaign addresses the top end of the income spectrum within the Perhaps the best way to highlight the power target group – people who interact with private available to users of the InfoBase next-generation bankers and who like a personal touch. solution is through the following fictional scenarios A marketing manager assigns ticklers using that illustrate how it can be used to solve unique Event to the best salespeople who call these business problems. consumers with an offer of 20% savings and a Scenario 1: A new channel designer service offering. The retailer contacts the consumers within two weeks of completion Based on research and demographic studies on their home purchase, resulting in a 10% within their target market, a furnishing company increase of sales from the new line. determine a need to create a new line of furniture based on unique lifestyle elements Scenario 2: Lifetime relationships and targeting a specific customer base. This line Southern Mutual is a virtual company providing addresses the needs of dynamic duos – career investment consulting and insurance services focused young couples with a heightened sense to a wide range of consumers across the UK. of style who want designer surroundings and are With a 500 strong sales team, Southern Mutual willing to pay a little more for it, but who do not already demonstrates marketing prowess through have the time or the interest to put the looks targeted direct mail campaigns and individual together themselves. The new line, called “Rooms follow up; now the company wants to launch a with a View,” addresses this specific customer “personal touch” campaign to establish more base by offering entire rooms of co-ordinating connections with its customers and prospects furniture and accessories built around themes and to encourage lifetime relationship – such as Midnight in Morocco or Lichtenstein management. This scenario details one in London – combined with unique decorating Consultant’s use of the next-generation InfoBase services to ensure a personal touch. platform to accomplish these goals. Buyers and designers for the company build an Joe Riley, a personal investment consultant with event portrait in InfoBase Event of a group of Southern Mutual, wants to establish and expand first-time home buyers with a range of purchase his relationships with a specific segment of his behaviour that indicates prime qualities for the customer base. Joe is fairly new to the business new line campaign. In addition to having just and eager to prove himself. He knows that if he purchased a home, these dynamic duos earn an can attract the most profitable, or most potentially average of more than £75,000 annually, have profitable, customers early and deliver meaningful recently purchased sophisticated electronics or and quality service to them at every major event original artwork and holiday abroad at least one or life change, he can establish a relationship week every year. likely to last a lifetime. The furnishing company uses the information Joe reviews all of the elements associated with provided by the next-generation InfoBase platform the various segments of consumers in his to drive a multi-tiered campaign of three different business area. Using the Event interface, he offers for the new line, based on event data results identifies the key elements associated with the and consumer contact preferences. The first offer group he currently wants to target. The involves an e-mail campaign to the target group professional singles category includes up-and- who recently bought electronics and who prefer coming career focused young adults, like himself, e-mail contact. The offer highlights 10% in savings to whom Joe knows he can relate and sell with a gift certificate from a local electronics store. products. The second offer leverages a direct mail campaign targeting the more traditional group who prefer Key elements for finding the right people to target to browse and often shop through catalogues. include age, income level, amount of disposable The catalogue illustrates multiple elegant room income, occupation, geographic area, marital configurations from the new line with 15% in status, personal preferences for music and films, savings for purchases within the month. purchase history and homeowner status.
  • 9. Working with his marketing department through Joe sets up events related to the lifestyle interests the Event interface, Joe highlights these elements and purchase behaviour of his target customers and defines how he wants to receive information and crafts his products and selling techniques about this target group. Based on his requests, based on the results he receives from the new Joe receives a list of professional single InfoBase platform. consumers within his sales area with an additional report detailing their last three major purchases – The Kennedys have their first child – another flat screen TV, new laptop, MP3 player – that major life event. With an automated notification indicate those whose disposable income and from next generation InfoBase, Joe is able to desire for more stability and home-based products send his congratulations to the hospital. After an are on the rise. appropriate time, Joe follows up with more warm wishes and details about the best education Joe sends a note of introduction to everyone on savings plans. The new parents are relieved that his list who matches his ideal customer portrait. someone they trust knows so much about the In the note, Joe includes a picture of himself and best path to take for their child’s future a gift card for digital music along with his favourite investment. Joe sets up a plan that automatically playlist. Joe details some of the ways he can help adjusts growth and risk at major milestones in busy professionals get on track with their finances the child’s life and reviews the plan at regular – from retirement planning, to holiday savings, to intervals – prompted by the event process – getting ready to purchase that first designer urban with the Kennedys to ensure that it yields the loft apartment. Joe hears back from several of his appropriate results. target consumers and sets up retirement accounts for them. Using Event, Joe sets up basic ticklers Joe continues his relationship with the Kennedys for birthdays and special events of all his target and with other couples like them with whom consumers,including an advanced tickler to he has been able to establish meaningful notify him if anything changes in his pre-defined relationships through his timely and elements based on personal status or purchase knowledgeable responses to life events. Joe behaviour. This, he hopes will create future works with the couple through the birth of another opportunities to further his established child; he solidifies his efforts through the couple’s relationships. retirement plan and later becomes the trustee in the couple’s estate planning. A few weeks later, Joe receives notification of a major life event for one of his new customers – Along the way to establishing lifelong relationships Tony Kennedy is getting married. Joe sends a with his target customers, Joe uses the next note of congratulations to Tony and his fiancée generation InfoBase platform to its full potential to with a small token of his appreciation for their identify and track the most profitable customers, business. Tony responds with a call asking Joe to establish and respond to key events and to how he can include his new wife on his retirement receive automated reminders and updates at the plans and inquiring about insurance policies for most beneficial times. As a result of establishing both. Because she is moving into Tony’s bachelor a clear portrait for his target demographic, Joe pad, Joe knows it’s only a matter of time before is able to get a list from Acxiom of prospective the new couple buy a house. He updates the customers who have moved into his sales area advanced tickler to notify him when this event for and who match the portraits of his most this customer occurs and all others who match successful existing customers. Joe continues this portrait. his success by following up with these potential customers to begin the lifetime management The Kennedys, now a cash and career couple, process anew with them. get pre-qualified for a mortgage. Based on his Event definitions and the migration to a new PersonicX cluster, next-generation InfoBase notifies Joe about the potential home purchase. Joe calls the Kennedys with a timely quote for home insurance and sells them a policy.
  • 10. Conclusion To reach the next generation of consumers, whose increasingly sophisticated demands often mirror significantly decreasing confidence, companies must respond quickly with relevant marketing messages based on accurate, fresh and multidimensional data built from a wider range of lifestyle, behaviour and demographic options. To respond to current consumer demands and address business drivers for companies, Acxiom is developing its next-generation InfoBase platform. Built on the richest data asset available in the industry and incorporating demographics, lifestyle clusters, life events, consumer behaviour, buying activity and historical trends, this solution ensures the accuracy, coverage and adherence to standards that have become Acxiom trademarks. Then the next-generation InfoBase platform takes this rich data asset to a whole new level by putting power into the hands of companies and allowing them to define and combine sets of elements to establish the unique events that drive their business. The newest InfoBase solution turns event-driven information into true, actionable intuition about consumers. Built with state-of-the-art technology and input from professional data analysts, next generation InfoBase reduces data latency by delivering only data changes for the events that companies specify as relevant to their business objectives. Acxiom’s nextgeneration solution for consumer event data provides the tools – including easy-to-use interfaces for defining events and selecting data delivery methods – that offer companies the flexibility they need to craft, package and deliver meaningful marketing messages to consumers today and to adjust event-driven data packages as consumers’ needs change over time.
  • 11. See how Acxiom can work for you. For more information call: 0800 035 2755 or visit: www.acxiom.co.uk Acxiom Ltd Counting House 53 Tooley Street London SE1 2QN UK Tel: +44 (0)20 7526 5100 Fax: +44 (0)20 7526 5200 www.acxiom.co.uk ukenquiries@acxiom.com © 2009 Acxiom Corporation. All rights reserved. Acxiom, InfoBase and PersonicX are registered trademarks of Acxiom Corporation. All other trademarks and service marks mentioned herein are property of their respective owners. 10/03/09