One of the definitions of the word “identity” is the distinguishing character or personality of an individual. Since the beginning of advertising, brands and marketers have tried to arrive at the core of this definition in their marketing efforts to achieve what many consider the holy grail of marketing, true one-to-one personalization.
Since the onset of the digital revolution, an added challenge for brands in this effort is that consumers now engage with brands across a growing number of touchpoints. A consumer can be seen as having multiple identities, depending on how and when they choose to engage with a brand or retailer.
Brands that can recognize the behavior patterns of customers across touchpoints and build accurate identities will create a basis to market to them as a segment of one, delivering content and offers in the right context and cadence to drive revenue and loyalty through an extended customer lifecycle. This is identity resolution, and it is imperative to creating a seamless, omnichannel customer experience.
You Don’t Know Me, But You Should!
Personalized experience is a primary brand value for connected consumers. Accenture, in its 2018 Personalization Pulse Check, found 91 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize and remember who they are and deliver relevant offers and recommendations that prove the brands really understand them at an individual level.
One issue for brands in fulfilling consumer expectations for more personalized experiences is that these expectations are increasing faster than brands can handle. This has led to a growing gap between the personalization that customers want and what they are actually receiving.
A 2015 Infosys report, “Rethinking Retail,” revealed 31 percent of customers surveyed want a more personalized shopping experience than they currently receive. And, 74 percent feel frustrated when they visit a website that doesn’t offer any personalized content.
Changing the CX Game… Forever
While brands may be trying to understand customer behavior and construct solutions for personalizing every interaction, their struggle grows with each new social or commerce app, as does the frustration among consumers who do not understand why a brand provides such disparate experiences across touchpoints. Enter identity resolution.
Identity resolution powers every piece of marketing technology, for it allows the brand to identify customers across all touchpoints with high precision, resolving and matching information across all data sources and identity proxies to get the most accurate understanding of every customer.
In laymen’s terms this means that marketers can finally deliver on a true one-to-one personalized experience using identity resolution to “power up” their existing technology investments. Put another way identity resolution provides an effective way for brands to understand their customers’ unique buying journeys along the path to purchase. Armed with this understanding and advanced analytics tools, a brand can more effectively predict, shape, and influence purchase behavior.
Getting personalization right allows brands to ask for more consumer data. We know from one study, for example, that 83 percent of consumers will share their data in exchange for a personalized experience if the brand is transparent about how it uses the data.
If a brand provides consumers with the personalization and experience that they expect, they will in turn reward the brand with trust and loyalty. The better a brand can incorporate timing and intent into personalization efforts, the better chance it has to deepen its relationship with a consumer across the full customer lifecycle.
Identity Resolution and a Unified Customer View
Data silos are a barrier to effective identity resolution. A lack of integration and a lack of communication between various marketing stakeholders and departments can negatively impact the customer experience as well as result in brands failing to recognize multiple interaction across channels as belonging to the same customer.
As part of their identity resolution initiatives, marketers must eliminate the issue of siloed systems and data that fragment the customer experience – for instance, using a Customer Data Platform to unify, cleanse, and merge customer data from all relevant sources. Only by breaking down silos and accurately matching customer data across the enterprise can a brand provide the most optimal experience across every channel.
The ultimate goal of identity resolution is to:
- Gain a better understanding of customers by building an accurate and usable representation of them (anonymous or known)
- Predict and shape customer behavior to improve engagement and value
- Improve retention by meeting increasing customer expectations
- Increase sales by providing relevant, timely offers
- Reduce friction in the customer experience using accurate, complete knowledge of customer history and preferences
Identity resolution is a key imperative for brands to deliver hyper-personalized interactions and experiences across all digital and traditional channels or enterprise touchpoints.