Data appending: 2019’s business phrase of the year

By Jen Neumann & Peggy Stover / Guest Column

We all know that data is a big focus — how we collect it, how we use it and how it benefits busi­ness. In 2019, we expect that “data appending” will be something that becomes more accessible for many businesses.

Let’s start with a definition. Data appending uses your existing customer or prospect data to match records against public and private data, using a variety of databases. That data is then used to append attributes to each record, essen­tially building profiles of your current custom­ers and prospects, and giving you deeper in­sights into their preferences. The identification of those attributes allows you to see behavioral patterns in your list, resulting in greater refine­ment of messaging for lead generation.

How does it work?

Company A is a manufacturer of a product that appeals to a niche target. Like most companies, they collect basic demographic data on their cli­ents such as name, address and email.

Beyond this basic information, however, they really don’t know who their clients are at a deep­er level. That includes information such as:

  • Do they rent or own their home?
  • What type of auto do they drive?
  • How charitable are they?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • Are they pet owners?


Through data appending, patterns and insights can be gleaned and established, and Company A can create a detailed profile about their clients based on behavioral data. This is then used to find potential prospects in a given geography who share similar characteristics. The company is then able to customize their marketing mes­sage, aiming it to a precise profile within a strict target. Bullseye!

Additionally, gaining a greater understanding of the profiles and segments of your current cus­tomers allows you to expand your reach with­in your existing base, potentially growing sales with clients, customers and end users who have already done business with you. Imagine how knowing some of the attributes listed above about your current clientele could aid a sales team in expanding and growing business among current customers.

Advanced digital marketing platforms allow companies and their marketing teams to not only reach targeted markets more effectively, but for the messaging to be far more tailored. Break­ing targeted audiences into subsets and refining the message and sales funnel to each stage of their buyer’s journey allows for better use of an organization’s marketing budget.

While data appending can seem like a Big Data solution used by bigger companies, it’s actually attainable for small and medium-sized organizations of all types, due to the prolifera­tion of programmatic media platforms and the accessibility of aggregating databases without the deep-pocket investments of past eras.

We are in a time where the traditional sales funnel doesn’t apply to every customer the way we once believed it did. By gaining insight, un­derstanding patterns and profiles, then apply­ing that knowledge to your communications, product development and sales mechanisms, your efforts will become more efficient and tar­geted — with real-time data to support and in­form decisions.

Data is the big push in everything we do in business. All companies collect some form of data. For some, it’s more anecdotal; for others, it’s more sophisticated. Some companies have the data but don’t know how to harvest infor­mation from it. This is the year, and the tools are all available — from CRMs to advertising plat­forms — to treat that data like the asset that it is and put it to use to grow your business.

Jen Neumann is a partner with de Novo Marketing in Cedar Rapids. Peggy Stover is director of data and strategy with de Novo Marketing.