Data Enrichment: What it is, and how to use it

Alfie Lambert Updated 13 April 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Back in 2006, British mathematician Clive Humby coined the (now ubiquitous) phrase, “Data is the new oil”. At the time it raised some eyebrows, now of course we know that Humby was right. Companies that know how to capture, refine and utilise data properly are on track for all the wealth and status afforded to those oil rush pioneers of the 1800s; but the parallel runs deeper than simply fame and fortune:

 

Data, much like oil, is worth far less in its raw state. It too needs to be refined and enriched to reach its true value.

With industries companies increasingly data-driven, knowing how and why to enrich that data is then paramount to success. If you, your company and your team are already putting data to work, it’s time to learn about data enrichment.

 

Definition

Example

Data Sources

 

It doesn’t work like this

 

So, what is data enrichment?

 

Data enrichment is, as the name suggests, is the process of enriching existing data with additional (typically external) data in an effort to support and improve upon what is there. Although the base definition remains the same, data enrichment will of course mean different things to different people depending on their job role, industry and desired outcomes.

 

For a salesperson, it might mean bolstering the customer information in their pipeline with external data to craft a more complete customer profile; providing them with a better understanding of their potential clients in order to pitch them correctly and close those all-important deals.  

 

Similarly, for someone in marketing, enriching their CRM data for example will allow them to better identify, segment and market to their chosen audiences. This is especially useful for those in database marketing roles, for obvious reasons!

Example:

A great example of data enrichment (and a shameless plug) is the LIX ReTrace tool. It will sort, filter and update your current stale CRM data with real time, accurate data from LinkedIn.

 

A study by the ONS showed that 27% of the workforce switch jobs every 3 years, meaning every 3 years more than a quarter of your CRM data becomes inaccurate. Using ReTrace allows you to not only do you enrich the data you have, but also unearth potential leads – because every time a contact changes jobs, they take the relationship you have built with them.

 


At LIX we work predominantly with LinkedIn data, but where else can you find b2b data?

 

Source: Kinsta LinkedIn statistics

 

Data Sources & Providers

 

We’ve established that in order to enrich your data, you will need external data to enrich it with. There are a huge range of sources for data, from free directories to paid providers. For data scientists and researchers there are tons of free, public data sets out there. Two of the biggest sources for those are Google Public Data and AWS’ Registry of Open Data.

 

If you’re looking for b2b data to improve sales and/or marketing however, this free public data probably isn’t for you. If you’re looking for information on businesses and people in business, you will more often than not have to pay for that information. With that in mind, let’s run through some popular sources of b2b data.

 

Equifax

 

This might surprise a few of you, but a leading source of b2b data is the credit reporting agency Equifax. The data available leans towards the financial (understandably), but there are plenty of ways to utilise it.

 

According to their website they can help you to:

 

  • Segment your customer base using a wide selection of personal attributes

 

  • Build up a valuable, in-depth view of the risks and opportunities for your business
  • Monitor individuals and businesses for changes, gradual or sudden, that affect their value as customers – such as credit limit changes, CCJs and trends in their financial health
  • Accurately analyse the profitability, purchasing profile, buying behaviour and other predictive characteristics of your existing customers and target marketplace
  • Determine how best to apply your findings to your marketing, lending, collections and other business strategies, to support your corporate objectives
  • Add value for customers with personalized services based on their credit score and financial circumstances

 

People Data Labs

 

People Data Labs refer to themselves as The Single Source of Truth for People Data’ a bold claim – but they may just live up to it.

Their database includes “the resumé, contact, social, and demographic information for over 2.5 billion unique individuals, delivered to you at the scale you need it.”

 

They even offer a free Company or Job Title dataset too. So, if you want to test them out that’s probably the best place to start!

 

411

 

411, a Whitepages company, has been around in some form or another since way back in 1997. Essentially an online extension of the phone book, 411 primarily carries data about individuals and businesses in the US – if you’re looking for someone outside of North America, you may need to look elsewhere.

 


Their main offerings are:

  • People Search
  • Phone Search
  • Address Search (including reverse address search)
  • Business Search
  • Background Checks

 

Does anyone in Gen Z know what one of these is?

 

LinkedIn

 

As you probably already know, LinkedIn is the world’s #1 professional social platform. What you may not know, is that there are almost 800m users on LinkedIn with over 33m businesses. It’s the single largest network of businesses and business professionals… ever!

 

What’s particularly great about LinkedIn, is that it’s UGG – User Generated Content. It’s in the best interest of businesses and individuals alike to keep their profiles (and therefore, data) up to date. Changed job? You will update your own profile. New hire? LinkedIn will add them to your organisation when they change their ‘current role’ data.

 

The issue of course is that LinkedIn don’t sell the data on their platform, but that data is public – so unless you want to copy data by hand, what you need is a LinkedIn data extractor, like LIX. Export up to 10,000 lines of data every single day with no risk to your LinkedIn account (give it a try!).

We have more guides, tips and tricks for LinkedIn here

Don't miss the next instalment!

Get the next blog (and the next one!) to your inbox.