Experian Rebuilds Insource From Ground Up

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Insource, the enhancement database on which data providers Experian and Metromail partnered before their merger last April, has been rebuilt as the brand and data repository for all of Experian's consumer list and database products.

The databases of both companies have been combined into Insource, which has been rebuilt on a relational database platform that replaces mainframe legacy systems and will allow for quicker updates and a shorter time to market for new products, said Gary Laben, vice president of marketing and business development for Experian, Orange, CA. Experian retired its existing legacy systems for the Insource relaunch May 25.

Marketers had expected the Metromail-Experian merger to produce results last summer, but Laben said the massive amounts of data that needed to be integrated and reformatted required a year of work. Insource had been available as an enhancement tool for the past four years. Experian used the integration, which eliminated all redundant consumer records, to re-engineer its data acquisition, compilation and management processes.

Previously stand-alone databases like BehaviorBank and the National Consumer Database now reside within the overall Insource relational database that covers approximately 98 percent of U.S. households and includes over 1,000 data elements per record. Data has been shifted from the household to the living unit level to account for changes in society such as wives keeping their maiden name and roommates at the same address.

"This gives a more accurate representation of what is going on at that address and saves on mailing costs and overlays,'' Laben said.

The flexibility of Insource enables users to custom build lists for direct marketing campaigns from pieces of the overall database, mixing and matching elements that had previously resided in separate databases. Additions to Insource include a life stage and life event database of hotline data that predicts when a major purchase will be made, expanded Summarized Credit Statistics, as well as updated modeling and segmentation tools.

Insource, a combination of compiled and response data, receives data daily and is updated weekly. Each consumer listed in Insource has been assigned a unique customer ID for easier maintenance and tracking. Consumers can be reached by home address, by telephone number and in the future by e-mail address. The catalog cooperative database Z-24 and the publishing co-op CircBase are the only Experian databases that remain separate from Insource but plans call for their integration as well.

Insource can still be used for enhancement as well as list hygiene. Deliverability can be measured by combined Experian/USPS mailing history, an address mobility index and a continuous address history that links a consumer's previous addresses.

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