Experian Aims for Multi-Channel

Consumer data giant Experian is taking the wraps off its own play for multi-channel marketing dollars, with a new tool that tracks and combines shoppers’ online and offline purchasing information.

Channel Match, the firm’s new product, links buyers’ information from retail, catalog, telemarketing, e-mail and e-commerce activities, allowing marketers to gauge the relative effectiveness of each channel and track cross-channel interaction. The services relies on the same technology powering Experian’s merge-purge capabilities to link consumers’ channel data.

“We can take almost any promotional channel a client is using and include it in the Channel Match analysis,” said Doug Gilbert, director of product marketing for Experian’s Marketing Solutions business unit. “Once links between different promotional channels are established, the client can start to understand the behavior of their customers, can look at how the different promotional channels impact online ordering … can develop a better cost-benefit analysis between channels, and look at the impact each channel has on others.”

“The hot topic now seems to be catalog circulation and Internet buying,” he added. “Channel Match creates reports that will show you for a circulation event, how many of your Internet orders received a catalog prior to making that order, which helps you leverage the impact of your circulation on your Internet orders.”

In addition to being better able to track consumer activity, Channel Match’s merged on- and offline behavioral profiles also would be suitable for in targeted marketing, remarketing, and CRM efforts.

“For most marketers, the online order channel is their most effective order channel, so Channel Match can help you identify which of your customers are placing their orders online,” Gilbert said. “You can start to more effectively target those customers so they’re going to your most cost-effective order channel.”

The move by Experian, a unit of Great Universal Stores plc, comes as other major marketing services firms are looking to help clients integrate offline and online activities, which is thought to boost overall marketing efficacy — and helps those firms retain a bigger slice of clients’ marketing budgets.

DoubleClick , for one, which owns the Abacus co-op offline database, early this year introduced ChannelView, which operates similarly to Channel Match. In November, DoubleClick teamed up with Information Resources, Inc. , which provides scanner-based sales tracking tools to consumer packaged goods firms, to study the effect of online advertising on offline buying.

Online promotions play e-centives also recently acquired BrightStreet, which allows for online incentives to be redeemed offline. As a result, e-centives is in a position to offer a closed-loop solution for gathering on- and offline consumer data while directing shoppers to different channels.

The news also follows on efforts by Experian to increase its foothold in the online sector. In recent months, the company purchased e-mail marketing technology from 24/7 Real Media and signed an alliance with e-mail return of address firm ReturnPath.

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