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Adding Demographic Data To Your Data Warehouse

June 9, 2004
Mark Rittman
"Not all 45- to 55-year-olds with a household income between $50,000 and $75,000 have the same purchase interests and spending habits. For this reason, static demographic data should not be used as the building blocks of a well-defined customer segmentation system. Demographic data may be used to describe customer segments (profiling), but it is much less effective in distinguishing interests and spending habits than customer behavioral data. Behavioral data goes beyond knowing that a customer has purchased a certain product. It involves capturing customer events and actions over time and using these stored interactions to determine typical behavior and deviations from that behavior." writes Roman Lenzen in "Customer Analytics : It's All About Behavior" for DMReview.

The very first data warehousing job I had involved applying CACI's ACORN demographic data to a retail bank's customer data warehouse, and since then I've always kept an eye out for developments in the demographics and direct marketing arenas. Funnily enough last Sunday's Observer had an article on the new social categories included in Experian's MOSAIC demographic system, and it's always interesting to see how such a system categorizes the neighborhood you live in. Adding demographic data can really help bring your customer database to life, and coupled with mapping systems such as ESRI's ARCGIS or even Oracle's own Mapviewer you can start to graphically map out where your customers are and how they break down socially and economically.



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