Wondering about how marketers can use your Census 2010 information? One answer is coming from new reports from Experian, one of three national credit raters. Experian’s new Mosaic USA marketing tool shows how valuable demographics can be, even if they’re not attached to a name.
As most people know, U.S. Census data isn’t personal. Nobody should be taking your social security number or other identifiers. But even vague data about families and households can get companies closer to “marketing to you.” The Mosaic USA system illustrates this quite well. By using detailed demographics, lenders can put customers into a box that will help them “rate” anyone who comes in the door and offer them products accordingly. Essentially, this is what lenders have been doing all along, but the new system really ramps up the process of pigeon-holing individuals within the vast landscape of American borrowers.
Experian has come up with some pretty nifty labels for consumers: there’s even one for the proverbial college student who, sheepskin in hand, may have to crawl awkwardly back to Mom and Dad’s. It’s called “Boomers and Boomerangs,” and through this designation, lenders assess issues like household income, interest in debt products, and more. Other “credit categories” include “American Royalty,” “Sports Utility Families,” and “Hispanic Harmony,” as well as age-driven labels like “Aging in Place” and “Dare to Dream,” which covers a wide swath of younger households.
What does this mean for consumers? For one thing, when you go to the financing desk to arrange a new car financing deal, you may find your dealer is using tools like this to break down your auto financing scenario. But how you see yourself is as important as how lenders see you. When you know your credit score, and understand your auto financing options, you can buy a new car in 2011 or 2012 without getting taken for a ride. From understanding your “demogs” to checking with third party lenders for market rates, doing your homework is the most important part of making a good new car financing deal today, and it’s just as important to get good auto financing rates on a used model. So don’t just slink down to the dealer’s lot: anticipate challenges and lender strategies like those above, and you could drive away in the car that you want for less.