Thanks to this post over at View from the Wing, I now know a little about what Delta thinks it knows about me as a customer; they use Experian’s Mosaic targeting service, which is supposed to aggregate many data sources to give Experian customers a profile of their own customers or web site visitors.
How’d they do? Well, they got my home zip code, gender, birth date, SkyMiles number, and SkyMiles balance right– as you’d hope, given that I gave them my address, gender, and birth date, and they know my SkyMiles data. They got my income and home value wrong by a wide margin, along with the number and type of American Express cards I have. According to Experian, my profile code is K39. From the list here, I learned that a K39 is a “Metro Fusion” in the “Significant Singles” category.. so at least they got the “single” part right. Here’s a description of K39s from a group that sells demographic targeting services to churches; it says that people in this segment are “creative, outspoken, unconventional, and very liberal” (not so much), “well educated and restless, ready to start their own business or climb the career ladder” (yeah), and “notable for their enthusiasm for the internet, and their passion for gaming…The digital world and the real world may have blurred boundaries.”
The Experian PDF itself is even better: people in this demographic segment “enjoy an active singles scene with plenty of nightlife, progressive values and robust leisure lives”, “rarely own GPS systems, satellite radios, or GPS players,” “seem to have champagne tastes on beer budgets,” and “describe themselves as liberal Democrats.” But wait, there’s more: “they’re unlikely to access the Internet for e-commerce transactions – few have interest in online shopping, banking, and booking travel plans”, but “they visit websites that offer auctions, gambling, celebrity news, and New Age information.” Nailed it!
The detailed description is much more interesting, and describes me considerably more accurately (see p194-196 of the PDF). Apparently people in my segment play video games at 3-4x the national average, are early adopters of consumer electronics, distrust large banks, are only “modestly interested” in most TV programs, and “have a particular fondness for American Express prestige brands.”
Suffice it to say any organization that thinks I am “very liberal” or that I can’t tell the difference between the real and virtual worlds is going to be in for a mighty big surprise when they use those assumptions to market to me. Perhaps that explains why the only marketing offers I ever get from Delta are things that are either useless to me (discount fares out of Detroit? Um, no) or uninteresting (get SkyMiles for buying wine? Nope). Perhaps I should be comforted that the all-seeing digital eye is so inaccurate.
I bet you’re wondering what Experian thinks about you now, aren’t you? There’s much more detail in this FlyerTalk thread.