A business for every customer: How data can tailor your organization to meet every demand

Posted by Justin Hesser on May 6, 2013

To make an educated assessment about a particular component of society, you need a large sample size. If one individual behaves a particular way while shopping, that doesn’t necessarily indicate a trend. But if 1,000 people display this same behavior, especially if they are condensed in a certain area, that might be something of note. Organizing a marketing strategy to target this type of person is valuable if data indicates that there are a lot of them, but the information gleaned from this aggregation of individuals can take business strategies to a whole other level.

Let’s start with your group of a few thousand customers. Suppose these people shop online at night. That’s great information that can be used to adjust operations to ensure that group is targeted properly. But while that large collection of consumers behaves in a similar fashion, they each have their own distinguishing features, idiosyncrasies and preferences that should be accounted for.

Suppose that, of that group of people who buy online during the night time, 60 percent are female and 40 percent are male. Then, perhaps 40 percent of the women are over 50, 30 percent are aged 30-49 and the other 30 percent are under 30. This is where things can get interesting. Not only does each sub-demographic have its own traits, the individuals inside them will behave independently of one another. Groups can be broken down to the individual. Each person represents a segment of a larger collection, but everyone is unique. Businesses that understand this can get a firm reading on each consumer and address their actions accordingly.

Patrick Wolfe, a statistician who studies social networks at University College in London, understands this. Wolfe spoke with the MIT Technology Review about the power of data and how it can be used to find out certain characteristics of each individual consumer.

“There is so much more data out there that you can afford to tailor it to the individual,” Wolfe said. “Statistically, strength comes from pooling people together, but then the icing on the cake is when you individualize the findings.”

Data can do so much, but it must be properly organized for those tasked with analyzing it to obtain the greatest possible value. Developing a custom database software system will allow businesses to use their information in a way that identifies groups and then pinpoints individuals. For instance, if businesses know that males shop a certain way and people over the age of 50 buy in a manner that’s different than younger individuals, a 52-year-old man will be treated based on that information. A significant amount of cross-referencing will have to be done and it will likely take a robust software system that helps keep that information organized.

FileMaker development can help companies build an application that can manage all of this data. It might be easy to get confused when businesses are using their information to build targets for each customer, but a FileMaker-based system will keep everything organized and allow organizations to extract the most value from their data.