Data giant Experian buys into social media

ExperianExperian, who is best known for being a credit referencing agency, has just acquired a social media agency in England.  It would appear there are at least two strategic initiatives in which Experian would benefit.

The first is to strengthen its own presence in the digital marketing space.  With competition heating up between Equifax, TransUnion, Fair Isaac, and a number of online data services, Experian is looking to create a stronger brand identity and more closely connect with its customers.  By leveraging a number of online tools and mobile channels, Experian will be able to make their services available in a number of new formats – while reaching a demographic of new prospective customers.

The second advantage is in the data harvesting business.  Experian has a marketing services division, which provides businesses with data about shoppers’ buying habits and internet consumption trends.  It is this competitive intelligence that arguably has more appeal than strengthening the brand.  The more unique content and personal information they can access, the stronger the competitive advantage they create for themselves.

This concept starts to blur the boundaries between social media content and privacy concerns.  While the short-term goal is most likely to expand their online marketing network, it’s only logical that aggregating new types of social media content would be a natural extension.  Let’s be honest, this is valuable information that many companies are willing to pay a premium for.  Knowing your customer and more importantly, where to reach them online is pure gold.

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