Callcredit Blog

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: new data, new tech, new challenge?

Consumer Marketing Data

Census-change-infographicAccording to results from the 2011 Census, we are experiencing a period of unprecedented population change. The demographic shifts that continue to redefine our social geographies are in the main caused by migration, enabled by ease of movement across borders, and increasing globalisation. We have seen the population of England and Wales born abroad increasing from nine per cent in 2001 to over 13 per cent in 2011. Established communities, from India and Pakistan, were joined by a new Polish population after the expansion of the European Union between censuses.

Other important population insights over the past decade are many. The number of people buying their own home has decreased by six per cent to almost 33 per cent. We are becoming more educated – 28 per cent of the population aged 16 or over is now educated to degree level compared to 20 per cent in 2001. These changes in turn eventually influence government policy at a local and national level.

Alongside this rapid change and increasing diversity, huge technological advances have changed our lives since 2001. Tweeting and poking friends have now become commonplace, changing our language and how we interact. From the comfort of our home we can visit anywhere in the world thanks to Google Street View. And driving our new lives is increased computing power, doubling approximately every 18 to 24 months, which is key to making sense of the huge amounts of “Big” data being constantly generated.

All this change presents us with a different analytical landscape to a decade ago. Building consumer segmentation systems was a lengthy process with complex statistical procedures often being left to run overnight and evaluated the next day. The cycle continued until a “champion” was found. The marketing machine then whirred into action, naming segments and producing product collateral.

Although today the statistical procedures are largely the same these can be tweaked and turbo-charged, run and evaluated many times a day due to increased computing power and cheaper storage. More data can be analysed more quickly for inclusion in the systems, meaning a more intelligent selection of variables can be determined (bigger does not necessarily mean better!). New overlaid methodologies mean that systems can be built that are capable of responding to changing input data, providing an almost real-time view of the population on the ground. And all this can be instantly communicated and visualised via the web, reaching a larger and more diverse audience than ever before.

Our new CAMEO UK segmentation will take advantage of a decade’s worth of change both in terms of new dynamic data sets to sit alongside the traditional inputs, and technological advantages in both build and deployment. We can also bring an additional ten years’ worth of expertise to the party – the past decade has seen our consumer classification portfolio grow to encompass 40 international markets.

We live in a time where change is so fast we are in danger of seeing the present only as it disappears. Let’s be clever and embrace change to really understand it.

Author: Andy Peloe

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