Identity resolution capabilities are increasingly critical in an age where consumers leverage multiple devices and multiple channels to interact with brands. Only a few years ago, Global Web Index found that digital consumers own 3.64 connected devices each. Each of these devices represents another engagement touchpoint for the average consumer, and it’s common for brands without identity resolution capabilities to consider each device as a new customer record.
This means consumers could receive the same offer via SMS text message, app notification on a tablet, or via an online ad on a laptop or desktop. The number of devices is dwarfed by the number of channels. Customers who use their smartphone and tablet can engage via social media, email, the website, and even mobile app for digital experiences; and they can walk into a brick and mortar store, see a billboard, or call into a contact center for offline experiences. It’s because of this range of options that brands need to resolve customer identities across devices and channels to ensure the offers they send are relevant. This is further complicated by the fact that most internet users have an average of two email addresses they regularly use, which complicates determining which email to use for messaging.
Understanding Identity Resolution Software & Use Cases
Understanding that multiple contacts are from the same person can be a tremendous window into consumer behavior and communication preferences, which can result in more personalized interactions and a better ROI on marketing’s activities. Beyond that, three of the most powerful identity resolution use cases for marketers include:
- Building a multi-device customer journey – The customer journey is increasingly a multichannel, multi-device pathway from awareness to sale with 50 percent of customer interactions happening during a multi-event journey. With consumers leveraging multiple devices, brands need to be able to identify current or prospective customers regardless of the device they happen to be using. Strong identity resolution capabilities allow brands to determine that multiple devices belong to the same person and then track that user across devices. By doing this, brands gain greater insight into the consumer’s communication preferences and their behavior. Even if the person remains anonymous, tying multiple devices to the same person can still be a powerful tool to personalize interactions.
- Resolving multiple users on the same device – Although certain devices are linked to individuals, such as a smartphone, there are vastly more devices shared by an entire household. The most common examples of this are a television and a desktop computer. A teenage boy streaming his favorite television show on the family’s desktop computer should ideally see different ads than his mother who logs on later to research software for her business. Identity resolution capabilities can ensure marketers understand the difference in usage periods so they don’t deliver messaging intended for the teen to his mother and vice versa. This capability moves marketers into semi-known territory, where they may not have customer names but can still identify different preferences.
- Delivering richer interactions with known customers – According to Winterberry Group, 40.3 percent of brands said that better identity recognition capabilities for matching consumers across channels would do the most to advance their organization’s omnichannel marketing efforts. Marketers need to be able to tell when a known customer is interacting with their brand, regardless of which device the interaction occurs in. This is especially vital because it’s impossible to predict which channel a known customer will engage through at any given time. Possessing this sort of identity resolution capability allows marketers to deliver more contextually relevant interactions, like what Starbucks does with its mobile app. Starbucks regularly provides proximity alerts to mobile app users, and broadcasts announcements of sales like its Happy Hour promotion. Marketers who recognize a known customer, as Starbucks does, can then provide a richer interaction for a better customer experience.
The ability to resolve customer identities across channels ultimately leads to greater nuance in understanding customer preferences as well as the ability to deliver more personalized interactions. Customers like to be recognized, within reason, and anything that empowers brands to do that with greater regularity is a net positive. It’s especially vital in a marketplace where successful brands are the ones who more easily deliver personalized experiences, and more readily recognize consumers as the loyal customers they are.