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Real Estate
8 read

Unlocking Real Estate Success With Data-driven Insights To Propel You Past Your 2024 Targets

Data-driven insights can no longer be viewed as a ‘nice to have’ competitive advantage.

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February 26, 2024

Bullishness and determination count for a great deal in sales, and nowhere more so than in property sales. They cannot, however, do much to counter the uncertainty the market that will carry over from 2023. Sellers will enter 2024 continuing to weigh lower valuations than they’d like against the prospect of increasingly lower  purchase prices and mortgage rates that may begin to edge down again soon – unless they don’t!

In a market with this level of instability, beating sales goals calls for a far more dependable, which means data driven, strategy.

"In the dynamic landscape of real estate”, argues Giles Mackay, founder of real estate data analytics leaders, Outra,  “harnessing the power of data is not just a strategy; it's a necessity. Early identification of motivated sellers is a prime example of how data can be the catalyst for exceeding sales targets." 

How can data help real estate professionals meet and exceed sales targets?

Mr Mackay’s assertion is not unjustified. Data can empower anyone involved in residential sales, by providing actionable insights that help optimise effort, streamline processes and which will, ultimately, lead to beating of sales targets.

With effective predictive analytics, anyone in residential sales has comprehensive insights into market trends, buyer behaviour, and seller patterns at their disposal. By understanding these trends, they can anticipate market movements, adjust strategies accordingly, and target their efforts more effectively.

Leveraging data then allows for precise targeting of potential clients. By analysing demographics, preferences, and past behaviours, it becomes possible to identify and focus on the most promising leads, optimising use of both time and effort. By using predictive analytics to forecast when properties are likely to be listed for sale, sales teams can engage proactively with sellers, gaining competitive edge and increasing the likelihood of closing listings.  

Data-driven insights also offer a solid foundation for making informed decisions around sales strategy. Whether on pricing or geographic targeting, for example, comprehensive data combined with robust analytics enables calls to be made with vastly improved confidence. In addition, at individual listing level, data can help build stronger client relationships by providing insights into client needs and preferences. This allows agency sales teams to deliver more personalised advice, guidance and service, fostering trust and increasing loyalty.

“The real Focus for everybody in the real estate space, “ says Fred Jones , COO of ‘quick sale’ cash buyer, Upstix, “is to get sellers before anybody else gets there. If we can do that then we've revolutionized the way anybody runs the real estate space.”

How identifying motivated sellers before they list improved performance.

Being able to identify motivated sellers before they list their properties delivers substantial advantages in achieving sales targets. Connecting with sellers identified as highly likely to list before their property hits the market lets you establish rapport and build relationships. This increases the likelihood of securing the listing, giving a head start in the sales process. It also, of course, reduces competition from other agents. By being the first point of contact, you have a better chance to negotiate terms, potentially agreeing more favourable conditions for both you and the seller.

Data analytics also offers the potential to offer upcoming sellers the option of an off-market deal. This means you may be able to offer a solution to specific needs or wishes, such as privacy concerns or the desire for a quick completion, and potentially expedite their sale.

With the insights provided by high grade analytics making it possible to understand a seller's motivation early on, sales teams also have an improved basis on which to tailor sales strategies. Whether this is by highlighting certain property features, offering more flexible terms, or addressing a specific concern a seller may have, the data insights make it possible to craft personalised approaches which maximise the chances of landing the instruction and achieving a successful sale.  

Building a relationship with a seller before they list their property may also lead to a higher closing rate, through being able to better understand seller expectations, manage negotiations, and guide the sales process more effectively.

With HMRC National Statistics recording a provisional, non-seasonally adjusted, estimate of the number of UK residential transactions in September 2023 down 19% on September 2022 (and down 2% on August 2023), advantages of the kind gained through identifying motivated sellers before they list could step any sales team closer to not only achieving, but impressively outperforming, their 2024 targets.

The best data and analytics tools to help you pass 2024 targets.

Proptech as a sector is booming, but while platforms aimed directly at buyers and sellers proliferate, the market for serious data and analytics designed specifically to help agents identify sellers ahead of listing is dominated by Outra’s ground-breaking product, Pre-Mover.  

“In all my years involved in residential development and estate agency”, says Dominic Grace, former Head of London residential Development at Savills, “I've never seen anything as phenomenal, in terms of its power, as the Outra platform. It gives you lots of information at a really granular level… so it means you can run your whole business much more efficiently and effectively.”

Pre-Mover tracks more than 2,300 attributes each on 30.8m UK households, amounting to 75 billion data points at property level. According to Outra’s Chief Data and Technology Officer, Peter Jackson, “We make 900,000 predictions every month; they've not even listed their house yet and we're predicting when they're going to list. That's quite remarkable performance.”

Upstix’s Fred Jones agrees. “The UK housing market is hugely volatile and has changed massively over the last 12 months alone. The Outra data helps us be agile and adapt our marketing strategies to respond to that. It's allowed us to be on the front foot and capture new leads rather than being reactive.”

No longer ‘Nice to have’. ‘Must have’ in 2024.

It would be foolish to imagine 2024 won’t harbour significant challenges for the residential sector, compounded by those lingering market uncertainties. Against this unpredictability, however, data stands out as the key driver for success. Leveraging data-driven insights has become not only ‘advantageous’, but essential for exceeding sales targets.

By understanding market trends and buyer behaviours, and anticipating seller patterns, directors, area leaders and managers in firms of any size can gain a comprehensive understanding of the landscape and use this to recalibrate strategies, precisely target potential clients, and engage proactively with prospective sellers before their properties hit the market.

It is this last benefit, the ability to identify motivated sellers before their official listing, that is the real game-changer. Establishing early relationships opens doors for negotiations, reduces competition, and allows for tailored sales approaches that really impress and win over sellers.  

As 2024 approaches, the use of data-driven insights can no longer be viewed as a ‘nice to have’ competitive advantage. It’s now the linchpin for success; the single most decisive factor in empowering you to not just meet, but to significantly exceed, 2024 targets.

Insights
Real Estate
8 read

Navigating Real Estate Market Volatility: The Data Advantage

Data analytics promises bold and ambitious real estate management teams a level of disruptive and transformative power

Read More
February 19, 2024

Leadership brings challenges. For anyone guiding the fortunes of a business of any scale, these challenges go with the territory. Indeed, many would say these are the territory.

While every commercial sector has its own issues to wrestle with, for anyone leading a UK residential real estate business at this time, the hurdles to be overcome (and, on the flipside, opportunities to be embraced) arise largely from the uncertainty against which the sector finds itself operating.  

In the words of former Foxton’s CEO, Nic Budden, "The UK residential estate agency market is one of the most competitive and dynamic in the world, but it is also one of the most challenging and complex. We have to deal with the fluctuations and uncertainties of the housing market, the evolving preferences and behaviours of our customers, and the increasing competition and regulation in the industry. We have to be agile and innovative to stay ahead of the curve and differentiate ourselves from the crowd.” The accuracy of tis view has only been compounded by further economic turbulence.

Staying ahead of the crowd, as Mr Budden observed, really is the key issue. In a heavily populated market, how can real estate businesses develop strategies capable of securing real market advantage, when borrowing rates are high, buyers are nervous and hesitant, sellers are uncertain, the economy is sluggish and policy from the Bank and Government must be viewed as ‘continuously subject to change’?

Data analytics, real estate and a glimpse into the future.  

In the age of sophisticated data science and Artificial Intelligence tools, the answer seems certain to lie in innovative and timely use of analytics.

Think of the advantage to be gained at every level of the business, from operational and budgetary consideration at local office level, to organisation-wide forecasting and planning, were residential agency businesses to exploit  relevant consumer and market data on a continuous basis.

In what ways could AI-driven data analytics of this kind give agents ready to embrace their forensic power and invaluable insights a competitive edge?

Fed with extensive and expertly defined data points and signals, data analytics could provide a tactical commercial weapon of a kind never before seen in real estate. Able to analyse market trends, consumer behaviour and economic indicators in myriad ways, agency leaders would be able to identify emerging market patterns, prioritise areas in which listings were about to blossom or to slow or, at a granular level, predict accurately, months in advance, when particular properties were likely to list.

At an organisational level, consistent use of data analytics in managing the business could provide estate agents with the ‘crystal ball’ of their dreams, enabling informed decisions, insight-driven business planning and early moves to obtain instructions, and providing the keen competitive edge needed to cut through the uncertainties of the market and outpace competitors.

The advantages for agents of identifying listings ahead of time.

Accurate and reliable foresight into future listings could provide strategic advantage for real estate businesses in numerous ways. Early access to information about properties coming onto the market would enable agents to engage proactively with potential sellers, reaching out to offer their expertise and services before the property lists. An approach of this kind not only demonstrates a proactive operation, but positions the agent as a dependable professional partner.  

Agencies able to identify soon-to-list properties early would also lay claim to the opportunity to secure the listing exclusively, gaining greater control over the marketing process and allowing for a more tailored and focused strategy to maximise a property's visibility. Similarly, with data-driven ability to analyse comparable properties and market trends, agencies could take a more authoritative position in helping sellers set competitive and realistic prices. As well-informed pricing enhances the chances of a successful transaction, this stands to minimise the time properties spend on the market.

There would be further advantages to be gained, too. In property marketing terms, amed with early visibility of upcoming listings across an area, agents would enhance their ability to optimise sale price for their clients, advising on when precisely to release a property onto the market to maximise its value. Similarly, by identifying properties before they enter the market and engaging early with vendors, agents would be able to streamline the transaction processes, preparing documentation, conducting pre-listing inspections, and addressing potential issues ahead of actual listing. This would again reduce the time the property spends on the market, creating a smoother sale process for all parties.

With the ability to predict upcoming property listings, agencies could become more proactive market leaders, able to control deals and run even the largest chain with greater precision and, as a result, enhanced success.

How early, data-driven insights show the way through uncertain economic times.

By now, most real estate agency management teams have come to terms with the lingering uncertainty in the landscape. It’s ‘the way it is’. But while it’s a far from ideal environment in which to try to solidify success, managements equipped with powerful, AI-driven data analytics tools could gain high value wins.  

Underpinned by the right dataset, a robust real estate tool could facilitate accurate forecasting of economic shifts by analysing predictive indicators such as employment rates, inflation and interest rates. Armed with these insights, managements would be able to anticipate how changes in the broader economy might impact the housing market, allowing them to adjust strategies on pricing, marketing or investment recommendations, accordingly.  

Reaching beyond raw economic data, an effective tool might tap into sentiment analysis of market participants, letting agency teams observe shifts in consumer confidence and adjust approaches accordingly. For example, with indications of positive sentiment returning, an agency team might consider it a good time to turn up marketing efforts, while negative sentiment might advise greater caution.  

Inevitably, economic uncertainty gives rise to trends and shifts in consumer behaviour. Able to analyse a myriad of data points, however, real estate businesses could observe emerging trends such as shifts in housing preferences, demand for specific amenities, or changes in preferred locations, all before these became widely apparent. Businesses with access to these insights would then be able to position themselves ahead of the curve, aligning their offerings with evolving consumer preferences.

For every business in the sector, there is also the clear need to assess and mitigate the new and increased risks inherent to transactions in times of uncertainty. Through analysis of historical data and market trends, powerful real estate tools will help agency managements identify the potential for, say, market downturns or fluctuations in values. This knowledge would make it possible for leaders to develop contingency plans and advise clients accordingly, greatly enhancing resilience.

In a market in which economic conditions can vary significantly at regional and micro-market levels, granular analysis also has the potential to help teams leading chains operating across larger areas to understand the nuances within different locales. Localised insight of this kind could prove invaluable in tailoring strategies to specific regions, optimising marketing efforts, or capitalising on opportunities that may be unique to certain areas.

Outra’s Pre Mover analytics management leads the way for real estate businesses.

The application of powerful data analytics to residential real estate is a paradigm shift that can redefine success in the industry for everyone from single-office agencies through to the largest, nationwide chains.  

Innovation in the space is led by Outra’s disruptive ‘Pre Mover’ product. Observing over 30 million UK households with more than 2,300 data points and 130 signals on each, Pre Mover generates highly accurate predictions about properties which are soon to be listed. It integrates analysis of real world events, such as residential sales and rental data, with a broad array of household insights, demographic data and other influencing factors to accurately predict households planning to list as far as six months in advance.

Decision time for agency leadership.

Data analytics promises bold and ambitious real estate management teams a level of disruptive and transformative power similar to those obtained in comparable sectors by organisations willing to embrace early and remodel operations and strategies around its impactful insights.

While the market maintains its current unpredictability, the consideration for all management teams should be the risk of being left for dead by competitors taking this opportunity to re-engineer their strategies and approaches around potent, AI-driven data science.  

Insights
Data
8 read

Work From Home Trends and the Race for Space

Impact of remote work on housing

Outra
Read More
June 16, 2022

In early 2020, overnight working from home (WFH) became widespread across the globe. As lockdowns have ended in the UK, we have embraced ‘the new normal’ with hybrid working models more common than ever. However, for some, the weekly commute has returned. This change in working behaviour across the UK has, over the past 2 years, dramatically impacted house prices.

With such disparity between working behaviours, Outra’s data science team has sort to identify who are these hybrid or remote workers, and how this is influencing the UK’s housing market. By analysing commuting data, we have looked to identify where the resulting ‘race for space’ is occurring. To start to understand Outra used data from a variety of sources, modelled to provide insight and identify trends, including;

  • passenger data for the 40 UK stations with themost marked difference in passenger numbers - the 20 highest and the 20 lowest.
  • we identified suburban stations with the highest and lowest change in entry and exit volumes as a proxy for WFH.
  • the numbers of people who commute to work using the Office of Road and Rail information for the 12 months ending in March 2021.

Pre and post lockdown trends

In locations where there were minimal increases in house prices, compared to the wider UK trend, we identified 3 key factors. Where these were present, homes near these back-to-work stations, prices only rose by 8.7%.

  1. Train stations largely located in and around London, where properties are higher in value. Occupants are more likely to work full time, travelling to and from the office.
  2. Higher number of flats and apartments. Fewer bedrooms compared to more central properties, meaning occupants are less likely to have access to adequate WFH space.
  3. Property occupants near train and bus stations are more likely to be in managerial roles. Increased seniority requires a more regular presence in the office — resulting in more frequent commuting.

Where we are seeing the ‘race for space’, is where people in the inner cities sought to transition to WFH locations, which in turn has fuelled the UK’s property price growth. Property values near WFH stations have increased by 13.5%, outpacing average country-wide growth since 2020.

  1. Local properties are more often owner-occupied and bigger in size, giving less incentive to commute.
  2. Property occupants living far away from their offices and nearest stations are more likely to work from home.

Working from home trends today

Now the UK has fully opened up, a majority of employers have embraced new ways of working. As workers demand a better work life balance, Covid WFH practices also demonstrated that businesses could still be just as productive. As we saw with key worker lockdown policies, working from home is more feasible for some types of workers than others. High earners are the ones most likely to be benefiting from a hybrid work environment, with 38% of workers earning £40,000 or more currently working both in the office and at home.

Graph

Meanwhile, lower earners are less likely to WFH at all. Lower earners who reported hybrid working between 27 April and 8 May 2022 included:

  • 8% of those earning up to £15,000
  • 24% of those earning between £15,000 and £20,000
  • 21% of those earning between £20,000 and £30,000
  • 32% of those earning between £30,000 and £40,000

There also seems to be an age element to those either able to or wanting to WFH, as those aged 30 to 49 most likely to do so.

These changes in working patterns have had a material impact on the housing market. Any further changes or an impending recession will either reverse or accelerate those shifts. Only by understanding the unique data points that create each individual householder can businesses adjust to new trends.

View our Interactive map

Learn more about our household data

Insights
Real Estate
8 read

Who can afford a home today?

Millennials' homeownership decline

Outra
Read More
January 5, 2023

Outra’s data has been featured in the The Spectator on why many people simply cannot afford to become homeowners.The Spectator used our data and found the proportion of millennials buying a home has dropped 11% in five years – a fall in spend of just under £25bn-a-year.The data is yet further evidence of a gaping generational divide in the UK property market and raises concerns that financially hard-pressed millennials are struggling to get on the housing ladder, which is likely to have a significant impact on their financial future given that a house is normally the most valuable thing a person owns.To read the full article - click here

Insights
Data
8 read

Weathering the Storm of the Cost of Living Crisis

Business survival in economic crisis

Outra
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July 7, 2022

The retail, utilities and credit sectors are facing one of the greatest challenges of the past 40 years: As the economic situation worsens, a recession becomes more and more likely. Households feel the pressure and businesses need to adapt to survive. So, what can companies do to weather the storm and thrive during this new challenge?

The perfect storm

In a post-Covid world there were glimmers of growth, but as the world has opened back up, we’ve faced a new wave of challenges. As a result, the UK is seeing a dramatic reduction in spending. On June 24th, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) announced that the volume of goods sold in-store and online in May 2022 fell by 0.5%.

With inflation at its highest level since the 1980s, we’re experiencing all-time lows in consumer confidence. As food and energy prices continue to rise, this trend is likely to continue throughout the summer.

Some of the industries most affected by the crisis are retail, credit, and utility. Each industry faces unique challenges and in turn, will need to deliver a unique strategy in response.

  • Retail businesses will need to be smarter at customer targeting and retention to ensure a healthy flow of new shoppers while preventing the loss of existing loyal customers.
  • Credit providers must address the increased need for credit along with an increased risk of defaults or fraud.
  • Utility companies must improve their processes for supporting vulnerable customers to adhere to regulations, along with a moral duty to support these households.

Data insights and the 2022 consumer

Consumers are adopting more defensive spending behaviours to ensure they have enough money to pay for the essentials. These tactics include self-imposed checkout limits at supermarkets, reducing expenditure on luxuries, or borrowing to fund everything from clothes to food.

The change in consumer behaviour creates a reduction in disposable income for businesses in the affected sectors. With a reduction in income comes a hit to companies’ bottom lines — threatening the survival of many of them. Small businesses are particularly at risk as they lack the cash flow necessary to recover from low-income periods.

Each UK household is unique. For consumer-focused businesses, understanding each of these, whether they are an existing customer or not, will be key to success. By using data that provides detailed insight at an individual post box level, businesses can gain a true understanding of the UK consumer.

Leveraging customer data science and data modelling provides the ability to turn data into wisdom — which in turn, forms the bedrock for any business or marketing strategy through an understanding of the unique nature of each customer, and the unique issues they are facing.

Adapt. Overcome

In the current environment, identifying which UK households are most likely to be affected by the cost of living crisis helps businesses adapt to the needs of their customers. By knowing the financial status of customers at a household level, businesses get a live snapshot of current behaviours. And through modelling that live snapshot, we can then predict customers' future behaviours.

All consumer-facing businesses can use this insight to understand:

  • Who are my customers, and how are they dealing with increased living costs?
  • What is important to my customers?
  • How do I ensure my marketing messaging is effective?
  • Who should I target, and what’s the best channel to use to do it?

But this data can also help overcome unique challenges within each sector.

For Retail, this insight can identify which physical store locations might face the most amount of pressure from reduced takings. Those located in the most hard-hit locations are likely to see a reduction in foot traffic and profits. Using data science, retailers can implement strategies ahead of time to address the issue, such as stocking cheaper products, creating targeted promotions or advertisements, or even reducing the number of physical stores.

Credit agencies and lenders can use the data to pinpoint households that are more likely to default. This goes beyond the process of deciding on whether to extend credit or not at the point of sale. It can identify households that already have credit, but now have a propensity to default. To better support those that face financial hardship as well as to manage credit risk.

The same is also the case for Utility providers. The current energy crisis has put an increased regulatory burden on providers. Our analysis has identified 5,055,359 vulnerable households out of the circa 30 million in the UK by modelling features beyond simple financial flags. Each one of those is considered a financially vulnerable household that they are obliged to actively provide additional support.

Data science at a household level can help consumer-facing businesses adapt and overcome the challenges that lay ahead. Through understanding where consumers are at this moment in time, and where they might be in six months, we can identify behaviours and keep your business ahead of the curve.

How can Outra help my business?

Insights
Energy
8 read

The Hidden Reality of UK Energy Costs

Understanding UK's energy crisis

Outra
Read More
October 24, 2022

As winter begins to set in, the reality of the cost of living crisis is beginning to take hold. While inflation has been affecting the economy as a whole, the increase in UK energy costs has been especially steep. Even with government intervention, energy price hikes will place huge pressure on UK households. In particular, the most vulnerable, those with larger homes, and homes with a lower EPC rating.

The crisis isn’t affecting customers equally. Our data has identified regional variations in household finances and building quality which will mean some homes will face higher costs than others. Consumer facing businesses and regulators need to understand these regional differences at a household level, to not only maintain the bottom line, but to ensure the most vulnerable customers are being supported.

UK faces average energy bills of over £4,000

UK energy costs have increased due to the rising price of wholesale gas across 2021 and 2022. In April, household energy bills increased by 54% and consumers faced a further 80% rise in October.

In response, the UK Government established the Energy Price Guarantee. The programme caps the average unit price for dual fuel customers paying via direct debit from 1st October; 34.0p/kWh for electricity and 10.3p/kWh for gas. This is on top of the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme.

What is important to note is that this means bills are not capped – they are still based on usage. So, those with larger homes, homes with a lower EPC rating, or those with additional heating needs (such as remote workers) will face bills far in excess of the governments proposed nationwide average.

The government has stated that the average household energy bill will be £2,500 per year. But our data has uncovered that due to these factors, the reality is that average UK energy costs will be more than £4,000 - a 150% increase from 2021.


“Across the UK, the minimum year-on-year increase according to our calculations will be 169%, which will result in more consumers having to tighten their belts and reduce their spending elsewhere to afford to pay their bills.”
-

Peter Jackson, Chief Data and Product Officer at Outra

What is the regional reality?

The UK has vast geographical differences, so a single average figure for bills can be extremely misleading. Financial disparity across the UK is nothing unexpected, but the scale at which the cost of living energy crisis will affect different regions could have long-term effects on households. By diving into Outra’s data, we have identified at a household and regional level where the rise will have the greatest impact.

Regional breakdown of UK energy bills from 1 October 2021

The chart demonstrates that while bills will rise to roughly £4,000 on average, some regions will face costs of nearer £5,000. On the other end of the spectrum, while London and the North East have the lowest annual bills, they will endure the largest relative price increases of around 200% each.

The reality of the cost of living crisis will be further exacerbated by the north/south income disparity. Colder areas like Scotland and the North, and more deprived regions in major cities will bear a larger cost burden.

Household data, means regional solutions

In the face of the cost of living crisis, understanding each individual household will be essential for any consumer facing business. It’s clear that national averages do not accurately represent the reality of the UK consumer. By being able to anticipate the economic forces impacting UK customers at a household level presents immense opportunities.

Whether you are looking to support vulnerable customers, retain existing customers when belts are being tighten, or looking to expand into a new customer base, household level data can provide the insights you need to be successful.

Every household is made of up its own unique data points. Each one builds upon the other to create detailed personas of who your existing customers are, and helps to identify new lookalike audiences.

Disposable income is being squeeze, and the reality of the cost of living is yet to set in. Only data driven marketing solutions can help your brand forecast risk, predict churn and deliver personalised messaging. Afterall, we’ve already identified around 5 million vulnerable UK households – do you know where they are?

Find out more about our Vulnerability Index or see how we can help your business

Find out more about our Vulnerability Index

Insights
Finance
8 read

Vulnerability Summit 2023 Round Up

Outra co-sponsors Vulnerability Summit

Outra
Read More
July 27, 2023

On the 20th of July, Outra proudly co-sponsored the Collaboration Network’s Vulnerability Summit in conjunction with BSI. The Vulnerability Summit contained a wide range of expert speakers and panellists featuring representatives from the Vulnerability Registration Service, Citizens Advice,  Samaritans and many more. Below are some of our teams’ key takeaways from the event.

Single Source of Truth
Many organisations and charities typically rely on their own customer parameters as a source for vulnerability which is not a full-picture approach. An accurate representation of vulnerability uses enhanced and predictive data to deliver unparalleled insights into who a business’s vulnerable consumers are or might be. The latter, ‘might be’ is crucially important here. Layering data and modelling it to identify those ‘at risk’ of vulnerability is the way in which businesses can stay ahead of the curve and predict, pre-empt, and prepare so they can best cater to the needs of those at high risk. Of course, this is especially relevant with the Financial Conduct Authority’s ‘Consumer Duty’ coming into effect this year.

Financial Services
The content of the summit included discussions around the financial services sector and how businesses in this space can best engage with their vulnerable customers. Sentiment showed the goal for the financial services sector is to reach a point where customers feel able and well-informed enough to notify organisations on their need for help and for there to be sufficient infrastructure to deliver this help, almost to a self-regulated degree.

Predictive data
Building on this need for a regulated delivery of help and support, it was felt that organisations should diversify their approach to vulnerability. Using Outra’s predictive Vulnerability Index, organisations can identify vulnerable households and implement the appropriate measures well in advance of when households may decide to ask for help. Predictive data can help identify vulnerable individuals who might be financially excluded due to factors such as low income, lack of credit history, medical reasons, or other barriers. With this knowledge, businesses can operate more inclusively to a broader segment of the population, reducing the risk of financial exclusion and promoting economic well-being.

Leveraging data responsibly creates a more equitable and supportive environment for all consumers, regardless of their vulnerabilities or challenges.

News
Marketing
8 read

The Power of Change in Segmentation

Utilising change for predictive segmentation

Outra
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January 27, 2022

It is often said that the only constant is change. Why, therefore is change rarely used as a variable in segmentation? The purpose of segmentation is to create powerful models that make predictions based upon the data that feed them. For example, the surprise Brexit vote could easily have been predicted if changes in immigration patterns had been analysed before the referendum. The areas in the UK that had experienced a significant net increase in immigration since 2011 were more likely to vote Remain, whilst locations which over the course of six years remained stable in terms of their multi-culturalism voted Leave. In this case change was the predictive variable.

So how can this be applied to marketing?

Very easily. For instance, in the case of consumer credit. Typically, credit providers use scorecards based on huge volumes of demographic and financial behaviour data to determine which customers should be offered extended levels of credit.

But these models, in our experience, are seldom as predictive as they should be. And the reason for this is that they do not use longitudinal transactional data to track changes in the financial situation of customers.

The scorecards tend to feed a single segmentation which is credit worthiness rather than a two-dimensional segmentation which should also contain financial transaction data over periods of time. If change was made the predictive variable more appropriate limits could be offered to customers making the credit industry more responsible.

Over the past 30 years, the trend in the data industry has been for increasingly granular data to be used as the foundations for classification systems, not least because of improved computing power.

As this has happened, the misconception that more detailed data is better than less granular data has manifested itself. However, often this is not the case.

Sometimes the most powerful data is tracking change rather than volume or depth of the data.

So, the question to ask yourself is what changes can you track and would they form the basis of a powerful prediction for your business?

Find out about our Segmentation solutions

Insights
Culture
8 read

Reflections on my first 100 days at Outra part 3

Outra's rapid agile innovation

Portrait of Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson
CDTO
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May 25, 2022

In part 1 of my first 100 days reflections I mentioned that things at Outra seem to happen 4x faster, that’s why it isn’t the first 100 days reflection that you expect.

The pace of data engineering, data science, innovation, and sales has astonished me; there is real pace and agility. This is down to three things: the data fabric architecture, the operating model and the people. Yes you’ve got it: Technology, Process and People.

I’ll write elsewhere about the Outra data fabric architecture, and I spoke about it at the A-Team Group Data Management Conference in London recently, so I won’t say much more here beyond the fact that it gives the data science and innovation teams amazing flexibility and capability for agility.

The operating model is fascinating: we have data engineers reporting into the CTO (more elsewhere), Data Scientists reporting into the Chief Data Scientist and the Innovation Team (Explorer team) reporting into me.

The Explorer team are supported by the other two teams and are set up to push the boundaries and develop new products beyond MVP. This is where the exceptional agility is taking place; products being designed and built in hours and days rather than weeks and months. These innovations are then market tested with clients and, if proven, passed back into the other two teams for ‘production’.

The Engineers and Scientists are also building and tuning the ML models, bringing in new data sets and maintaining the fabric. Not to be forgotten are the Product, Marketing and Sales teams who are truly data literate and take innovative, fresh off the shelf products and services to the clients. It is this Op Model that enables stunning agility, innovation and the ability to bring products to market at an astonishing pace.

So, in the 25 days I rapidly learnt to buckle up and get ready for a Formula 1-style ride.

Author: Peter Jackson, Chief Data and Product Officer

Learn more about Outra

Insights
Culture
8 read

Reflections on my first 100 days at Outra part 2

Data strategy insights in 25 days

Portrait of Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson
CDTO
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May 23, 2022

Some more reflections after my first 25 days. Yes, you’d expect me to report after my first 100 days but things here at Outra seem to move 4x faster than anywhere else.

I still read many articles and posts, and hear the data community discuss the problems encountered and created by data being a subset of the technology domain within organisations. Essentially the CDO reporting up into the CIO or CTO.

Caroline Carruthers and I have called out this issue for a long time, indeed writing about it in our first book, ‘The Chief Data Officer’s Playbook’. At fear of covering some of this ground again it is worth repeating a few points.

If technology and the CTO were going to ‘crack the data problem’ then surely after decades of the CTO / CIO role being established in organisations this would have been achieved by now?

Second, ‘Data’ is a different discipline to ‘technology’.

Finally, and quite compellingly, there was some discussion on LinkedIn recently about the relationship / hierarchy between data strategy and technology strategy. In my view an organisation has to set its ‘business strategy’ first, then other strategies like HR strategy, Data Strategy, etc. are written to support and deliver the business strategy, and finally the technology strategy is written to support and deliver these other strategies.

How odd it would be if the tech strategy was written first and this dictated the data limits, boundaries and ambitions of the data strategy and ultimately the business strategy? Just think though how often we come across this.

Is the master carpenter given a shovel and told to get on with his job?

I am in the most amazing position at Outra of working alongside a Chief Data Scientist, who understands commercial priorities and business outcomes, and a CTO (what a powerful triumvirate) who truly understands and prioritises data catalogues, data lineage, access to data and agility. Along with high levels of data literacy throughout the organisation.

That is how great data products and services, transformational things, get created and operationalised. Perhaps a model for all organisations who wish to leverage the value and opportunities in their data and become data enabled.

More on DataOps and agility later…

Author: Peter Jackson, Chief Data and Product Officer

Learn more about Outra

Insights
Culture
8 read

Reflections on my first 100 days at Outra

Reflections on fast-paced data strategy

Portrait of Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson
CDTO
Read More
May 17, 2022

In the Chief Data Officer’s Playbook, Caroline Carruthers and I wrote a chapter about the first 100 days as a CDO. You’re correct, I haven’t been at Outra for 100 days yet, but things here seem to move 4x faster than anywhere else.

So, some reflections after my first 25 days. These reflections will come in a series of posts. I did heed our own advice to listen and learn in the first 100 days (lots of Cake and Coffee, Caroline would be proud of me!)

Many people have heard me say this before!

‘The world’s most ambitious organisations, regardless of sector or vertical, need to leverage data analytics and insight to become data driven. These organisations want to be data-driven to excel at operational efficiency, create value, delight customers and citizens, engage employees, gain competitive advantage, meet regulatory demands, and join the pack of leaders rather than fall behind into the ranks of the laggards. Business is becoming increasingly complex, the pace of change is accelerating, and markets are evolving rapidly.’

Well, to be honest, organisations that have true ambitions to leverage data science face 3 big hurdles:

  1. Investment in technology to ingest data, bring it together, engineer it and then do the data science;
  2. Investment in people in a very hot data skills market to do the clever things required.
  3. A long time to value realisation.

What I’ve discovered in my first 25 days at Outra is that we’ve invested in the technology, recruited the people and are ready to deliver value for our clients. I’ve also discovered that we provide (Data Science as a Service (DSaaS), accelerating our clients’ journey so they can meet those ambitions.

Bringing together multiple data sets and applying market-leading data science, transforming Data into Wisdom; the Outra products enable organisations to become data driven and accelerate into the pack of leaders. Outra moves an organisation rapidly up the DIKW pyramid from Data to Wisdom.

Author: Peter Jackson, Chief Data and Product Officer

Learn more about Outra

Insights
Energy
8 read

New EPC Regulations Putting Pressure on Landlords

UK rental homes' energy efficiency

Outra
Read More
May 26, 2022

Did you know that 59% of tenants live in rented homes that aren’t energy efficient?

Millions of homes in the UK Private Rental Sector (PRS) don’t even meet basic standards of decency. In fact, 2 million homes (1 out of 10 in England) contain a Category 1 Hazard, meaning they are in such poor condition that they put tenants' health or safety at risk.

To help restore the imbalance in the UK PRS, the Government is rolling out the new Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings (No. 2) Bill to increase the minimum energy efficiency levels for all rental properties.

What do the new EPC regulations mean for landlords and tenants?

What is the Current State of EPC Ratings for Rental Properties?

At Outra, we combine data and innovation to get an unparalleled, unified perspective on the UK's EPC situation. We compiled the publicly available EPC data and matched it at the individual property level. Where property data is missing, we used data science to model what the EPC of that property will be.

According to our recent analysis, there are 5.6 million rental properties in the UK (excluding Scotland), and 59% of those homes have an EPC rating of D or below. ​​More specifically, 49% are D rated, 9% are E rated, and 1% are F or G rated.

That’s 3 million homes that cost more to run than they need to!

Our research also shows that London and West Midlands are the worst-performing locations, with 62% and 60% of homes rated D or lower in each area, respectively.

Breaking it down even further, the worst-performing local authorities are:

  • Maldon (75%)
  • Harrow, Craven (74%)
  • Southend of Sea, Waltham Forest (73%)

The best performing local authorities are:

  • Tower Hamlets (31%)
  • Basingstoke and Deane (36%)
  • Welwyn Hatfield (38%)

It’s clear that the UK lacks symmetry in terms of living standards, but the government is trying to improve the situation.

What Do the New EPC Regulations Mean for Landlords and Tenants?

The new bill mandates changes to the EPC regulations, requiring new tenancies to have an EPC rating of at least Band C from 31 December 2025. For existing tenancies, the same rules will apply from 31 December 2028.

This means the average tenant will eventually pay lower energy bills than the average homeowner. With the dramatic increase in UK energy costs this year, this new bill could be a game-changer for low-income households.

Although, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The new EPC regulations also risk removing some rental homes from the market and putting additional pressure on the UK’s Private Rental Sector.

The estimated cost of upgrading a privately rented property to a C rating is £7,646, meaning it could cost up to £25.7 billion to upgrade the 3 million rental properties rated D or less. That’s a lot of money that some landlords either can’t or don’t want to pay.

According to a recent survey, more than half of landlords with properties rated D or lower were considering offloading their properties to avoid paying for upgrading them. When landlords choose not to extend or renew rental agreements, tenants will be forced to find new places to live.

How can the UK embrace this change?

The new EPC regulations will benefit the UK’s PRS on every level. Landlords will have more sustainable properties that are easier to sell or rent out, and tenants will get a decent standard of living through better housing quality and lower energy costs.

But, the only way to prepare for the changes the new EPC regulations bring is to understand where potential issues might be and mitigate any risks. With the housing market already in crisis, we need reliable data and insights to properly plan for and manage changes without causing further detrimental effects.

Learn more about our household data

News
Finance
8 read

Outra analysis shows financial vulnerability will play a crucial role in deciding the next general election

Financial distress in key constituencies

Outra
Read More
August 24, 2023

Our recent analysis, reported in the Independent, ranked each parliamentary constituency by the number of ‘financially distressed’ voters, and found that ‘red wall’ seats – historically Labour constituencies won by the Tories at the last election – contain some of the highest numbers in the country.

The findings suggest that, amidst an ongoing cost of living crisis, the incumbents are at a particular risk of losing the seats that came to define the 2019 election.

Conservative-held red wall seats such as Great Grimsby, Blackpool South and Walsall North have among the highest proportion of voters deemed financially vulnerable.

Our assessment of financial vulnerability was developed in collaboration with the Vulnerability Registration Service, which found that nearly 2.5 million households in the UK are at a 'high risk' of financial vulnerability and an additional 6.3 million households are deemed at 'elevated' risk.

It’s not only pollsters and politicians that should be keeping tabs on the most vulnerable parts of the country, but as the Financial Conduct Authority’s new Consumer Duty has now come into effect, businesses too need to take measures to identify and support potentially vulnerable customers.

While inflation appears to be easing, the economy is consistently reported by voters as one of the most important issues in deciding their vote at the next election.

Almost two-thirds of voters believe the economy to be one of the top three issues facing the country, putting it significantly ahead of health and immigration.

Read more about the findings in the Independent.

Insights
Finance
8 read

Outra Joins VRS as FCA’s Consumer Duty crackdown approaches, highlighting 2.5M UK households at ‘High Risk'

UK household financial vulnerability

Outra
Read More
June 30, 2023

Our recent study, conducted in collaboration with the Vulnerability Registration Service (VRS), exposes the extent of financial vulnerability among households in Britain. The findings are concerning, with nearly 2.5 million households at a "high risk" of financial vulnerability and an additional 6.3 million households facing an "elevated" risk.

The UK is currently grappling with a cost-of-living crisis as wages fail to keep pace with soaring inflation. This situation is expected to worsen as mortgages and rents increase due to higher borrowing costs. Retail figures indicate that while spending has increased by 17% in value terms, the volume of purchases has declined by 0.8%, indicating consumers are adjusting their spending habits to cope with rising costs.

Our data reveals that the northwest and northeast of England are particularly affected, with four out of ten homes at high or elevated risk. These regions require targeted interventions to address financial vulnerability.

The Vulnerability Registration Service (VRS) plays a vital role in identifying financially struggling households. By registering with the VRS, households can inform landlords, banks, and utility companies about their difficulties. Collaboration between government agencies, financial institutions, and service providers is essential to effectively support vulnerable households.

Recognising the urgency, the UK government is taking action to address financial vulnerability. Measures are being discussed to prevent profiteering by companies, and a new Consumer Duty will be implemented on the 31st of July to enhance consumer protections, especially for vulnerable individuals.

Amidst all this, it is crucial that businesses are equipped with the right data to identify and cater properly to vulnerable people.

To view the coverage in Reuters – click here

News
Data
8 read

Outra analysis unveils the struggle of homeownership in the face of rising mortgage rates.

Alarming decline in homeowners' affordability

Outra
Read More
August 29, 2023

In a recent Telegraph article, Outra data was used to demonstrate the alarming number of homeowners who would find themselves unable to afford their own homes if they were to repurchase them today, due to prevailing mortgage rates in England and Wales.

The data shows that only 0.9% of homeowners in these areas can presently afford to repurchase their homes or upgrade to larger properties under existing interest rate conditions. As interest rates climb and housing affordability dwindles, the dreams of owning a home are slipping away for many. This figure reflects a drastic decline of 21.4% from December 2022, indicating a disturbing trend of decreasing housing affordability.

A notable insight from Outra's analysis is that while a mere 0.9% of homeowners could manage to rebuy their homes, an additional 5.9% could potentially afford their homes with more favourable mortgage terms or assistance from shared ownership schemes.

This starkly contrasts with the more optimistic 22.3% recorded in December 2022. The impact of these shifting numbers reverberates through various age groups, with 24% of those unable to afford their homes falling within the 20-30 age bracket, and 22% in the 50-60 range.

Peter Jackson, Outra’s Chief Data and Technology Officer noted that fluctuating interest rates contribute significantly to the growing challenge of homeownership. However, he emphasised that falling house prices also play a substantial role in diminishing the equity accumulated within properties. According to Jackson, "The balance is the savings, the stored equity. So, if the house value is stagnant or coming down slightly, they have less power in their deposit savings. It’s a function of the two things."

As the housing market continues to shift, Outra remains committed to providing valuable insights that empower businesses and industry players to make informed decisions in the face of these challenges.

To read more in the Telegraph, click here.

Insights
Finance
8 read

Is your organisation ready for the FCA Duty of Care?

FCA's Consumer Duty Act: Impact & Compliance.

Outra
Read More
June 28, 2023

On July 31st 2023, the FCA Consumer Duty of Care Act – a new principle raising the standard of behaviour expected from firms – will come into practice. It seeks to ensure that all consumers, regardless of their situation, receive good outcomes and will have a significant impact on organisations, which will need to put a host of strategies in place to ensure that they are delivering the best possible duty of care to their customers.

Executing best practice for consumer protection standards

The new consumer protection act means that firms need to prove that they are working to create good outcomes for customers, in the context of their products and services; price and value; consumer understanding; and consumer support. In order to comply, an organisation’s purpose and culture will need to align with their obligations under the Duty, including all relevant discussions about strategy, remuneration and risk. They need to use data insights and technology to the best of their abilities to improve their services and outcomes for their customers – particularly those that are financially vulnerable. And the ever changing consumer landscape means that this will not be a one-off process – businesses will need continually to adapt to meet evolving challenges and expectations.

Organisations therefore need to deeply understand their customers’ requirements, characteristics, objectives and behaviours, at every stage of the customer journey. This will require firms to identify their target audiences at a granular level, while considering the characteristics, risk profile, complexity and nature of their products or services. Organisations need to prove – on an ongoing basis – that their actions are compatible with delivering good outcomes for customers. This means testing, monitoring and adapting communications for customers – taking into account any characteristics of vulnerability, the complexity of products, the communication channel used, and the role of the firm – to support good outcomes.

It also means properly considering outcomes for different groups of consumers instead of relying on broad averages which may not highlight where certain types of customers – such as those on low incomes or in vulnerable circumstances – are not receiving fair value. This is where data insights from broad demographics and geography to granular, individual information about your customers’ situations and behaviours comes into play.

Supporting Vulnerable Consumers

For firms to deliver their duty of care and support their customers’ good outcomes it is important that they can correctly identify and support their potentially financially vulnerable customers – defined as those that may not have the ability to recover from sudden financial shocks, such as an unexpected loss of income or an unanticipated increase in expenditure. It is important to note that financial vulnerability is not necessarily permanent. It can be short term or situational, and the current economic climate means that more and more customers are at risk of becoming financially vulnerable at some time.

If an organisation identifies customers as having the characteristics of vulnerability, it will need to implement a flexible and empathetic consumer support approach that takes account of their needs. Where they identify that good outcomes are not being achieved by their customers, they need to address this by introducing processes to recognise and tackle the factors that are leading to poor outcomes.

Firms are expected to have sufficient understanding of their customers’ behaviours and how their products and services function to demonstrate that good outcomes are being achieved by those financially vulnerable customers. In addition, they will be expected to be able to identify when particular groups of customers receive systematically poorer outcomes as this could indicate that the firm is not providing a duty of care for those groups or is in breach of its legal responsibilities. This is where data can really help. Access to the right level and depth of data gives organisations the ability to see – in real time – which of their customers are at risk of becoming financially vulnerable so that they can offer the right levels and channels of support at the right time.

What do organisations need to do?

Key to the Duty of Care Act is the concept of fair value. Organisations need to understand and assess fair value relating to the quality and benefits of their products or services. With the new principles, a single generic template for assessing fair value may not be sufficient for products with different characteristics or target markets. This could be as broad as understanding your customer groups well enough that, for example, those groups with characteristics of persistent debt should not be charged high fees or interest rates. Or it could be more specific, such as knowing your customers sufficiently well that, when interacting directly, communications are tailored to meet their individual needs, and they can be supported before they need to ask for help.

Firms are required to monitor and review the outcomes that their customers receive, which means they will need to leverage the appropriate data insights. They need to have a robust plan in place that includes the data they want to use and how they will address data gaps to demonstrate that their products and services offer fair value for different groups of consumers, as well as monitoring and regularly reviewing their customers’ actual outcomes to address any risks to good customer outcomes.

Insufficient or inadequate data will hamper the ability to undertake robust assessments. This means that firms need to very carefully consider their current data capabilities and where technology can be leveraged to improve consumer insight, as well as where longer term solutions could be developed to enhance data and advance functionality in monitoring and evidencing consumer outcomes.

Knowing your customers

Having the data insights to know your customers is a key aspect of the FCA duty of care. In applying the principles of the Duty of Care act, firms can learn to harness the power of data and technology, using it to target the correct audiences for their products and services, and identify, understand and support their vulnerable customers on an individual basis. With this comes a benefit to organisations as well as consumers – if they can get the implementation right, firms can deliver better outcomes for their customers, as well as deepen their trust.

What are the risks of non-compliance?

The FCA will take a robust approach to how firms are implementing the new rules. It is clear that firms will need to be ready to meet the consumer duty rules by the deadline at the end of July, so businesses need to take action now. Potential breaches need to be tackled at an early stage, meaning that it is crucial for firms to understand and evidence the outcomes their customers are receiving so they can monitor their compliance on a continuing basis. Penalties for non-compliance include fines or sanctions up to and including removal of approvals.

Furthermore, the threat of negative publicity and/or customers choosing to use firms which are focused on good outcomes means that being prepared for the Duty of Care Act should be top of the agenda for all forward-looking businesses.

Learn how the Outra Vulnerability Index can help your organisation

Insights
Finance
8 read

How will financially vulnerable customers impact your business?

Rising bill struggle risks utilities

Outra
Read More
May 22, 2023

Up and down the country, households are increasingly struggling to pay their bills as the cost-of-living crisis intensifies.As reported exclusively by inews, our data found that this poses a particular risk to water companies. This is because unlike gas or electricity bills, water companies cannot, by law, disconnect the water supply of domestic customers. As a result, consumers are more likely to fall behind on water bills than other utilities,Outra’s exclusive analysis found that water companies across England and Wales are at risk of a £2.13 billion shortfall, with more than 4.6 million households in England and Wales predicted by Outra to be unlikely to be able to pay their water bills this year.Read the full article - click here

Insights
Marketing
8 read

How To Build Your Ideal Customer Profile

Crafting ideal customer profiles

Outra
Read More
June 24, 2022

How confident are you about your customer profile? Understanding who you’re talking to is vital as marketers need ways to cut through the noise of other messages and strike a chord with consumers.

Unfortunately, speaking to customers seems to be getting harder. The latest online marketing trends show that customer acquisition is becoming more expensive as costs have increased by 60% over the last six years.

Similarly, targeting customers will soon become more challenging as third-party cookies are removed. With recession rumours circulating across major economies like the US and UK, marketing budgets may soon be under more scrutiny as senior leaders look to maximise ROI.

CMOs and other marketing professionals must find ways to ensure the success of their campaign efforts. In this article, we explore how to re-focus and re-energise your marketing activity by building an ideal customer profile using internal and third-party data.

Current online marketing trends

Lacklustre ROI from multi-channel campaigns
While businesses still aim to deliver seamless digital experiences to customers, multi-channel marketing hasn’t lived up to the hype for the most part.

Managing complex marketing campaigns across disparate mediums created a significant amount of work for a limited pay-off. What’s more, rising apps like TikTok have sparked renewed interest in vertical video formats

As firms look to plan their forthcoming marketing strategies, the stalled growth from multi-channel marketing has provided a strong lesson in using what works.

Changes to third-party cookies
Ironically, as marketers reexamine their advertising options, new barriers have arrived in the form of changes to third-party cookies.

These data sources, once used to measure consumer habits and advert performance, are being scrapped by Google from 2023. Other firms like Apple are also changing their operating systems as part of a wider shift towards consumer privacy.

As a result, recent surveys have shown 41% of marketers believe their biggest challenge will be their inability to track the right data.

Navigating the uncertainty of what will work
With the landscape of online marketing changing, there’s considerable uncertainty about the future.

Senior marketing leaders are understandably keen to identify the next growth engine for their organisation to drive both awareness and sales. Yet, budget limitations and tough economic predictions make it feel like marketing professionals are fighting with one hand tied behind their back.

Fortunately, there’s a way to overcome the combination of issues outlined above; that is, stunted growth, growing pains and ambiguity about strategic next steps. By building a more refined customer profile using third-party data, marketing professionals can focus their efforts on a more reliable type of high-intent consumer.

How to build your ideal customer profile

Your ‘ideal customer profile’ (sometimes referred to as ‘IPC’) defines the traits of your most valuable customers.

While your ‘target customer’ simply defines the generic segment of the total addressable market you wish to serve, your ideal customer profile goes even further. By focussing on purchasing intent and behavioural data, you can paint a more detailed picture using commonalities between your customers. As a result, you can create more reliable, data-driven insights to base your future campaign strategies on.

According to Gartner, the ideal customer profile is becoming a vital element for high-growth businesses that can help unify departments’ strategic decisions. Follow the steps below to build a comprehensive customer profile of your own and enhance your customer data analytics for future marketing campaigns:

1. Look at your current customer base
Your ideal customer profile largely comes from within your existing patrons, so it’s important to expand on your historical customer data analytics.

Some customers are open to taking part in surveys, so if you find that your data is somewhat limited, you can conduct new research to garner more insights.

2. Identify your top-paying tier
Once you have a grasp of your current customer base, begin by segmenting them using key demographic details. Some early categories you can focus on include things like where your customers live or work, their age, how long they’ve been in their current position and their income.

As you create a rough customer profile using these surface-level insights, you should also determine how much each customer spends on your products or services. This additional level of analysis will allow you to separate your customers from your ideal customers.

We’ll touch on additional categories in later steps that will help you build a more in-depth profile.

3. Use qualitative and quantitative data
While you’re segmenting your customers, make sure to use both qualitative and quantitative data.

The former should accurately describe your customer and their habits. However, the latter will allow you to make predictive analyses and take advantage of today’s online marketing trends more effectively.

4. Understand their goals and pain points
Once you’ve established a surface-level picture of who you’re looking to market to, it’s time to go deeper and understand what they want. Obviously, your product or service should feature as a part of the solution. However, try to understand the motivations of why they need it in the first place.

In particular, focus on what’s holding them back from making purchasing decisions in the form of paint points. Marrying these two facets can help build a more effective sales funnel, as you’ll be able to tackle key concerns along the sales process and guide customers into consideration more easily.

5. Identify their habits and preferences
Another way to build out your ideal customer profile is to account for behavioural and environmental habits. For example, consumers have set preferences on how they like to spend their time online and where they find information from.

Accounting for these habits can allow you to refine the types of resources you offer to your customers. For example, the majority of podcast listeners are aged between 26-38, while Facebook is the most popular social media platform for those aged 56+.

6. Utilise other third-party data sources
Unfortunately, your existing data can only go so far. By combining high-quality third-party data with your own internal records, you can identify a larger segment of high-intent customers.

External analytics solutions like Outra360 help you build an ideal customer profile easily and achieve an ultra-personalised marketing strategy equipped for today’s online marketing trends and beyond.

By applying data science to public UK household data, you can understand your audience’s attitudes, aspirations, and motivations. What’s more, you can identify high-intent customers and carbon copy lookalikes, and expand your ideal customer pool for maximal revenue. Altogether, our platform provides never-seen-before insights into your target audience.

Crucially, our data isn’t affected by the removal of online cookies, so it’s a reliable and future-proof source of customer insights.

Let third-party data provide new customer insights for your marketing


Third-party data is the solution to build your ideal customer profile and enhance your future marketing strategy.

By enhancing the insights into your current customers and expanding your view of potential prospects, third-party data can paint a more thorough picture of your highest-value customers.

As a result, you can establish a detailed and precise ideal customer profile and focus your marketing efforts on your highest value and more reliable customer prospects.

Find out how Outra360 can find your perfect customer

Insights
Finance
8 read

How Rising Living Costs Impact Vulnerable Pensioners

Supporting vulnerable pensioners.

Outra
Read More
November 14, 2022

400,000 Financially Vulnerable Pensioners Facing Bleak Winter as Gas Bills Soar

People with additional heating needs and poorly insulated homes face a particularly bleak winter this year, even with existing government intervention measures. That’s why, in this latest article on the cost of living crisis, we’re focussing on financially vulnerable pensioners.

The crisis is creating a mounting problem for businesses with a duty of care, like utility companies and lenders, whose leaders could fail to support vulnerable customers without insight into their struggles.

Learn more about the pressures facing vulnerable pensioners across the UK in our latest analysis and discover how to deliver targeted customer support using data science solutions from Outra.

The Impact of the Cost of Living Crisis on Financially Vulnerable Pensioners

At Outra, we have identified around 5 million financially vulnerable UK households. However, follow-up analysis has shown that around 400,000 of these are occupied by financially vulnerable pensioners.

Within this cohort, our data suggests that:

  • They are typically aged 65 and above.
  • Four in ten earn less than £20,000 a year.
  • One in five are classed as ‘just making ends meet’.
  • Nine in ten do not have a [private] pension to fall back on.
  • Many live in EPC D-rated properties with poor insulation and dated gas boilers.
  • Many require additional heating for health reasons


“Some of our most vulnerable households this winter will be the most exposed to hiked gas bills with very little real support coming from the government. Energy suppliers should be aware of these issues and offer some sort of relief to these customers who may otherwise face the unthinkable choice between heating or eating.”
-

Peter Jackson, Chief Data and Product Officer at Outra

Previous analysis from Outra found that the UK faces average energy bills of over £4,000 a year under the new Energy Price Guarantee. What’s more, in addition to the UK-wide support scheme, UK pensioners are also entitled to the Warm Home Discount and £400 rebate. Unfortunately, the heating needs of vulnerable pensioners will dwarf both their incomes and the support measures provided.

How Do Vulnerable Pensioners Compare Regionally?

Energy prices are set to rise at different rates across the country, affecting some vulnerable pensioners more than others.

Some regions like the South West will face a 169% rise in energy costs, reaching nearly £5,000. On the other end of the spectrum, while London and the North East will have the lowest annual bills at around £4,000, they will endure the largest relative price increases of around 200% each. And so, pensioners living in these regions as well as colder ones in the north will face extra pressure due to the steep rise in UK energy costs.

How Can Businesses Support the Financially Vulnerable?

Businesses like energy and lending firms need to be mindful of their duty of care towards financially vulnerable customers. For example, customers may be unwilling or embarrassed to come forward to ask for help, meaning they could experience additional stress unnecessarily.

By utilising data science solutions, lenders and energy providers can establish accessible payment plans and tailored support. Not only will customers’ bills become more manageable, but revenues can still be collected (albeit over a longer period).

The same data set on UK households is also relevant to retail businesses looking to minimise losses as consumers adjust their spending. By using sophisticated customer targeting, retailers can adjust their revenue expectations or invest in new strategies to make up losses and weather the cost of living crisis more effectively.

At Outra, we have one of the widest, deepest and most insightful databases on the UK population including economic and behavioural data, as well as housing quality and property finances. We can help businesses navigate their options and understand customers’ evolving needs. Get in touch using the button below and find out more about how we can help.

How can Outra help my business?

News
Energy
8 read

How can data science sell more Electric Vehicles?

EV industry challenges & data solutions

Outra
Read More
May 5, 2022

Petrol prices are soaring, igniting interest in EV cars across the UK as people look for new, more affordable ways to drive. And who can blame them, when fuel costs are making it too expensive for owners of older cars even to commute to work?

But here’s the rub: the UK doesn’t have enough EV charging points to meet new demand. In the meantime, the number of EVs in the UK is expected to reach 7m by 2030. Worse still, councils and companies don’t generally know where to install charging stations or which prospective customers can afford to own an EV, causing further practical and commercial complexity for a growth industry.

The only way to overcome the challenges in the EV industry is to provide councils, car retailers, and other stakeholders with adequate insights to help them target the right areas and households.

What are the Main Challenges in the EV Industry?

While more people in the UK want to switch to EV cars, many of them may not be able to buy one due to the lack of supporting technology, planning and infrastructure. Here are a few examples:

1. Charging Time

It takes 30 minutes up to four hours to recharge an EV vehicle fully, and most cars on the market can only manage up to 250 miles on one charge. Waiting hours for their car to charge is less than ideal for drivers used to pulling into a petrol station, filling up their tank, paying, and leaving in under five minutes.

Long charging times also make it inconvenient to drive EV cars on long journeys, since extensive pre-planning is required to avoid getting stranded without power.

Tesla is the only company that allows its customers to charge their EVs quickly. Their Supercharges can add up to 172 miles of range in just 15 minutes! Sadly, it’s the only solution on the market of its kind.

2. Geographical Bias and Funding

Did you know that 33% of public EV charging stations are located in Greater London? Only 6.2% are in the North West of England and roughly 2% in Northern Ireland. Clearly, some local councils enjoy considerably higher financial investments to install EV charging stations.

But what about the less affluent parts of the country? These councils will struggle to install enough stations. As a result, local residents must continue to use petrol cars –– even as fuel costs hit their incomes hard.

3. At-Home Charging

It’s currently illegal in the UK to run EV changing cables across pedestrianised areas, such as pavements. Meaning households that want to purchase an EV need to either have off-road parking or be reliant on the public charging network. Both EV manufactures and councils need to know where focus their time, effort, and money.

4. Targeting Households

The challenges in the EV industry also include companies that sell EV cars. Demand for their vehicles might be on the rise, but not everyone can afford a new car or have a propensity to buy one. So how do manufacturers and retailers know who to try and sell to?

How Data & Innovation Combined Can Revolutionise the EV Industry

Imagine if councils and EV manufacturers knew exactly which areas and households to target? They can!

Our Parking Model applies machine learning to official data, to intelligently predict which UK households have off road parking, with 89% accuracy.

By using this model, we have identified which regions of the country will be more reliant upon a public charging network, due to a lack of access to an off-street charging point. Allowing councils to plan for infrastructure, and the government to allocate funding.

Furthermore, EV car retailers can determine which households to target with their marketing to minimise cold outreach and reduce customer acquisition costs. Allowing the likes of BMW or Tesla to not only ensure they are talking directly to households that can and want to purchase their products, but also make sure they are using the right messaging.

The UK is amidst an accelerating climate change and transport revolution. By using data science, governments and retails can deliver transformative innovation to households across the UK.

Learn more about our household data

Insights
Real Estate
8 read

Building a Greener Future: The Sustainable Housing Challenge for Landlords in Doncaster and Bradford

Landlords face sustainability pressure

Outra
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June 9, 2023

The pressure is on landlords to make housing more sustainable, especially in regions like Doncaster and Bradford where energy efficiency standards are below standard. With 71% of private rentals in those regions holding an energy performance certification (EPC) of D and below, according to Outra data, the North of England’s landlords are set to face a hefty bill to upgrade their properties to meet new legislation.Properties across the board with low energy performance levels are no longer just frowned upon by prospective tenants who do not want the burden of hefty bills, but face becoming legally untenable as the UK government plans for a minimum EPC C rating for all privately rented properties by 2028.Our data was used by the BBC to highlight this growing trend.The market is already observing an exodus of landlords by reason of what is being dubbed a continued ‘war on landlords’ by commentators. Traditional ‘mom and pop’ homeowners are selling up and cashing out of the buy-to-let market, beset with hefty cheques to upgrade existing housing stock.So, what does this mean? Landlords in Doncaster, Bradford, and other regions with inadequate energy efficiency standards, must acknowledge this imminent deadline and take immediate steps to upgrade their properties. And if they cannot, then they will need to sell to someone who can or face owning a vacant, unprofitable asset.Worth a note too is that the transition to sustainable housing offers numerous benefits for both landlords and tenants. For landlords, investing in energy-efficient upgrades not only improves their property's market value but also reduces long-term maintenance and operating costs. On the other side of the coin, eco-friendly properties are increasingly in demand among environmentally conscious tenants.By providing sustainable housing, landlords can attract responsible and discerning tenants, resulting in reduced vacancy rates, and increased rental income. The question is not ‘will Landlords act,’ because they must. It is whether they act quickly or efficiently enough to come through to the other side, with a positive in the bank.To view the BBC News coverage - click here

Insights
Culture
8 read

Extraordinary Agility: Getting new products to market faster

Agile innovation in action

Portrait of Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson
CDTO
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November 8, 2022

Written by Peter Jackson, Chief Data & Product Officer.

I have heard so many companies talk about agile delivery processes and innovation streams to get new products to market quickly, but I have rarely seen it happen; perhaps the definition of ‘quickly to market’ is the variant. The large corporates are terrified of the ‘start ups’ who are seemingly able to develop and deploy innovative products at speed in response to changing markets, and so they should be - their lunch is disappearing.

An abundance of papers and reports have been written examining how the ‘start ups’ / ‘fintech’ / ‘insurtech’ ‘xxxtech’ manage to do this and frameworks have been developed that larger corporations try to implement to imitate the process. This is not another paper or framework, this is experiential.

I am in a very fortunate position at Outra to observe product development taking place at amazing speed and those products then becoming disruptors in the market. In the past three months in response to the Cost of Living Crisis, inflation and rising interest rates Outra has developed three new products and taken them to market. That is three months from ideation to market; with data engineering, data science, product design and go-to-market strategy as part of that process. THREE MONTHS! How is that possible? Without giving too much away here are the tips:

  1. A totally committed team who believe in the aims of the business
  2. A team who are both business literate and data literate and understand the data value chain from ingestion to product sales
  3. Collaborative working across all the teams with people going the extra mile for each other
  4. Highly creative people who are encouraged to think and explore
  5. Great leadership who are involved at every level of the business and product development
  6. Huge amounts of domain expertise
  7. Early market testing
  8. Focus on the MVP and product roadmap
  9. Product development is not linear: for example we are working on the go to market at the same time as data engineering. We advance on all fronts at the same time
  10. We don’t focus on hot-desking or hybrid working (we have no two team members who have the same work patterns) we focus on outcomes and delivery
  11. Extreme sprints enabled through ‘development sessions’ where product development takes place in live time driven by product owners and domain experts working with data scientists, data engineers and product developers.

The secret sauce?

This way of working is unrelenting and is in the DNA of the business and structured through the Operating Model creating transparency and accountability. On top of this we are constantly looking at ways to improve our ways of working and thus improve our products.

At the same time the teams were supporting existing customers, onboarding new customers and improving our existing products, and building our longer term foundations for future innovation. It really is a multi-dimensional data strategy at work.

So what were those products?

The first is the Outra Vulnerability Index, an interactive online tool to identify the financially vulnerable households in the UK to help our clients engage, understand, manage and support their customers through the current Cost of Living Crisis.

The second is an Interactive tool that can analyse the whole of the UK Residential Housing Market down to the household level. The tool is split into four sections, History, Analysis, Data and Forecasting. We're currently witnessing the first major event in over 10 years where investors are having to consider a significant short-term change in house prices. The Risk tool will allow clients to make data-driven decisions on investments and mitigate as much risk as possible

The third product is a High Net Worth Index, again an online tool which enables brands to seek out a shrinking addressable market and understand their behaviours and requirements.

Insights
Marketing
8 read

How Can Data Innovation Revamp Targeted Advertising?

Enhancing targeted advertising innovations

Outra
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May 25, 2022

In December 2021, Facebook (now Meta) updated its Special Ad Category, which encompasses any ads relating to employment, credit, housing, and politics, to prevent discrimination.

The move is seen as a reaction to an event that unfolded in 2019. Then, Facebook restricted targeted ads in the US to prevent real estate and housing brands from deliberately excluding minority groups from campaigns.

The change involved removing specific targeting options that brands could use in a discriminatory fashion, such as age, gender, and postcodes or small radius geo-targets. As a result, advertisers became more reliant on Facebook’s algorithms to find the right audience for their campaigns.

Less targeted advertising leads to higher customer acquisition costs for your brand. However, by blending first-party data and innovative solutions with Meta’s lookalike algorithms, you can restore –– and improve –– your advertising performance.

Keep reading to learn more about what the changes to Meta’s detailed targeting options mean for your business. In this article we’ll cover how data innovation can convert challenges into opportunities.

Why Are Targeted Advertising Campaigns More Effective?

You’ve probably heard the expression: “If you try to reach everyone, you’ll reach no one”.

Over 50% of prospects turn out to be bad fits for businesses. However, targeted ads enable you to find and interact with customers who are more interested in your product, increasing your chances of making a sale.

The more details you have about your audience, the easier it is to win their business and generate revenue for your brand. When used correctly, targeted advertising helps you cut through the white noise and attract loyal customers who keep coming back.

Changes to Facebook Detailed Targeting Options: How Does it Affect Brands?

The changes to Facebook’s targeting mean companies in industries like real estate and credit lose access to important demographics and interest groups used to refine audiences. Here are a few examples:

Geotargeting
Advertisers often use postcodes or small-radius discs to geographically segment audiences. This segmentation uses1km ranges spread across maps to target the customers they’re most likely to convert. Facebook’s detailed targeting changes prevent brands wanting to run housing, employment or credit ads from targeting customers by postcode.

Because of the new restrictions, advertisers have had to increase their minimum disc size to a 15-mile radius. In a densely populated city like London, the targeting pool could increase from 49,200-57,900 to 5.7-6.7M customers.

The larger radius makes it much more difficult to target customers effectively, forcing brands to spend more on customer acquisition to achieve the same conversion rate.

Demographic targeting
Facebook has also restricted brands’ options for demographic targeting in their Special Ads, meaning you can no longer make changes to age and gender.

Audiences must include all genders and ages 18 through 65+. In addition, Facebook has removed some additional demographic, behaviour and interest options, and has excluded detailed targeting selections.

Instead, Facebook encourages brands to broaden –– not restrict –– their audiences and use the audience selection tools in exclusive, not discriminatory ways.

How Can Innovative Advertising Solutions Improve Targeted Ad Results?

The best approach to boosting your targeted advertising results will depend on your particular business model and goals, but here are three effective methods any brand can use:

1. Lookalike audiences
Getting the audience right is crucial to creating effective ads for your brand. By building lookalike audiences for your Facebook ads, you can target new people who will likely be interested in your business because they are similar to your existing customers.

Once you've created Lookalike Audiences for each audience segment, use these tricks to get the most out of your ads:

  • Target the same ads to each Lookalike Audience with initial bids.
  • Monitor how well the ads perform based on revenue per conversion or the lifetime value of the people in each audience.
  • Modify your bids for each audience based on your findings, bidding more for more valuable audiences and less for less valuable audiences.

When using lookalike audiences, the most important thing is to test and monitor how different settings perform. You need to continuously refine your audiences and look for new activities to measure to ensure your ads achieve maximum results.

2. Never stop innovating
Lookalike audiences are only as good as the seed audiences used to feed the algorithm. Existing customer lists may not be large enough for the lookalike algorithm to perform well, or may not be appropriate when looking for growth into new segments. At Outra, we have blended our own data with the client’s data to supercharge the algorithm and brought CPL performance in real estate up by 36% - back to its level before the targeting limitations were introduced.

Advertising technology is constantly evolving, unlocking new opportunities to create hyper-targeted ads. At Outra, we’re all about finding new ways to help brands leverage targeting data to plan, budget and execute marketing campaigns more effectively.

3. Content is king
Every ad needs high-quality, relevant content that entices your audience to click on the ad and find out more about your offer. If you’re short on ideas, use your already high-performing content (blog, YouTube videos, etc.) to create new Facebook ad campaigns.

Try repurposing content into:

  • Infographics
  • A video sales letter
  • A free video course
  • An e-book
  • Different angles for your ad

Creating multiple lookalike audiences requires numerous ad ideas to test. Repurposing high-performing content is an excellent way to fill that gap quickly with material your audience already loves.

With the Right Data & Innovation, Anything is Possible

Changes to targeted advertising don’t have to be an obstacle, but an opportunity! The increased focus on privacy and brands’ social responsibility is actually a positive development that companies can use to improve their marketing and general operations.

By keeping an open mind and embracing innovation, your brand can increase effectiveness throughout the marketing lifecycle: from media planning to content personalisation, precision targeting and campaign optimisation.

Innovation is the key to bringing advertising into the future. At Outra, we live for creating powerful solutions that transform basic ad targeting into multi-channel marketing campaigns that target your customers at the right time,
anywhere.

By using our data and innovative marketing solutions, we’ve gotten our clients back on track to achieve the same results as they did before the change. Our unique approach helped one brand achieve a 400% increase in weekly leads in February alone and increase conversion rate by 586%, resulting in a 64% decrease in Cost Per Lead.

What does this prove? That with the right data and innovation, anything is possible!

Are you ready to revolutionise your advertising?

Revolutionise your advertising with OutraMedia

Insights
Marketing
8 read

Are you more than just your spending habits?

Data-driven marketing insights

Outra
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February 3, 2022

Data. Data. Data. It’s everywhere and nowhere. The internet has stormed into the show and taken it over, providing marketing professionals with a pile of information on customers. It’s changed the way we work, we communicate, we fall in love, and - especially in the last 2 years - helped us stay home, still get Nandos, and binge watch our favourite shows.

With all this data, it’s lucky that we have the computer power and ever-improving technology to support us analysing it. When once it was a poor marketing manager slumped over some numbers to figure out how next run a campaign, we now have teams of data scientists focused on creating insights.

Segmentation customers - and future customers - has become increasingly complex, built out with more, and more, (and more) data sets, especially with the recent dramatic increase in e-commerce. Instead of just knowing Mrs Smith bought a candle (from the White Company no doubt!), but we also know she got distracted for 30mins looking at new bed linen, she bought towels last month, and spend £150 on baby clothes in the past year. All this information provides a brand with enough data to segment Mrs Smith and provide her with a far more customised experience.

This all sounds great, right? We’ll what if you have TOO much data? Not just on one customer, but on all your customers. A problem that many of us who started in marketing 10+ years ago, never thought we would have.

As we get overloaded with data, then the segmentation becomes far too mechanical. The customers last action tending to become the focus. And with just transactional data, segmentation ends up being one dimensional. That’s no way to run your UX.

So, what’s the solution? To build a 360-customer view, that’s more than just customers spending habits, with complementary data, which gives you the granular segmentation and insights that you need.

This is what gets us excited. By using AI (smart computers, trained by smart people), combined with brands data, and our exclusive data, we help brands not just know their customers – but understand their customers. We all love it when brands provide us with an amazing customer experience, which is why we want to help every brand deliver this. Because not only does it improve the world we live (and shop) in, but with customer-centric businesses being 60% more profitable we get to see the businesses we work with thrive.

Enrich your customer data with Outra360

Insights
Real Estate
8 read

Are we about to see a landlord exodus?

EPC changes impacting landlords

Outra
Read More
May 4, 2023

The planned introduction of new EPC requirements for private rental properties could be forcing many landlords out of the market. Outra’s data showing how many properties are under threat – and crucially, how much it could cost landlords and homeowners.Our data found 4.5 million rental properties currently have a rating of D or below was reported in the Telegraph.These landlords are facing a cumulative bill of more than £45 billion to upgrade their properties to meet the minimum EPC rating of ‘C’ that is likely to come into effect in 2028.To read the full article - click here

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