Market data firm Environics Analytics has bulked up with the acquisition of Boire Filler Group, a company that helps clients make better use of their customer information.
The takeover, Environics' fourth in a little over a year, will add expertise in custom analysis to the company's core business of selling software and database products.
Ten employees from Boire Filler have joined the Environics team, including founders Richard Boire and Larry Filler. Environics has just over 100 employees.
Environics sells proprietary databases, which include highly detailed information on demographics, lifestyle and purchase behaviour, broken down by specific neighbourhoods across Canada. Boire Fuller will help client companies integrate this broad data with the information that they gather themselves, about their own customers.
"We provide a wide range of demographic, lifestyle and psychographic preferences," said Jan Kestle, president of Environics. "[Our clients'] data and our data need to be connected so that they can turn it into something they can use to help their firms make more money." Clients are asking for help with this more often, she said. "We had a small team doing this, but we wanted to add to our resources."
Environics has sold its data to a cross-section of businesses in financial services, telecommunications, tourism, retail, media and automotive industries. Some of these clients were already using Boire Filler to analyze their internal data, Ms. Kestle said, so it made sense for the two firms to combine and allow "one-stop shopping."
"We don't have the data sources that Environics has," said Mr. Filler, but his company will bring to the merger its expertise in helping clients make better use of their own data. And size does matter, he said. "A 10- or 15-person company can only do so much. A 100- or 110-person company can provide greater value" and generate more resources for investments.
Ms. Kestle noted that there is a huge mass of data now available to companies – from internal and external sources – and the focus has shifted to how to use it effectively to manage a business. And consumers are generally happy to have focused marketing sent to them, she said, providing it is really relevant. "That will come if brands do better analytics" and make sure they understand consumers' "hearts and minds."
In the past year, Environics Analytics has made three other acquisitions, including data technology firm SM Research, consulting firm Pivotal Contact and a unit of research firm Nielsen Canada. The company is part of the privately owned Environics Group, which includes public relations company Environics Communications and Environics Research.