Organisations looking to gather more insight into the behaviour of their customers can benefit from data profiling, which delivers a more comprehensive understanding of what makes your target audience "tick".
Data profiling works by grouping customers with similar characteristics (likes, interests and habits for example) into defined clusters. Other attributes that can band seemingly disparate people together includes income, how well they manage their money and what their postcode is.
For Shepard Morrow, head of the US-based company Location Tracking, customer profiling is extremely important but it is only just the beginning. When you generate assumptions, as he put it in an article for business2community, they need to be fine tuned.
This can be achieved through better data management, specifically in making the most out of the information that has been generated by "the actual actions your customers take".
"In the age of the internet, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of this information," he wrote. "And here’s the good news: this type of analysis is available to companies of any size, regional chains, single store operations, and even individual entrepreneurs."
Mr Morrow says that all that is required is a marketing plan, a website that is optimised, content strategy and internet marketing analytics: "The data trails are there for you to mine."
However, for businesses looking to go even further, consulting with data quality and data management experts, the kind that specialise in delivering software and service solutions, is an astute business decision to make.
What underpins the success of this is the need for organisations to develop a detailed plan. The more information you gather, the better able you will be to produce a bespoke, purposeful profiling plan.
Areas to consider, Mr Morrow suggests, are what specific behaviours to track, determining what data is applicable, relating it back to existing profiling plans and establishing the ultimate outcome of the profiling.
"This is a process that requires experience," he goes onto say in his piece for the online news provider. "Even getting it 90 per cent right can lead to you making incorrect assumptions about your audience, wasting money and effort by targeting copy, keywords, and promotions at the wrong people."
Again, as he mentions later on, this goes back to the inherent value and importance of working alongside experts. Organisations that specialise in this area come with knowledge, which they can apply to your business in the most effective way.
A concrete profiling programme will then result in a more accurate and strong customer base, while also creating the foundations needed to expand one's reach.