Last week a customer told me "you can’t serve a customer you don’t understand, and you can’t understand a customer without knowing their behavior". Now there is nothing controversial about this statement and I think that most marketing professionals would agree. But although these principles are central for marketers to provide a personalized and omnichannel customer experience, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily doing everything they can to adhere to them.
So why not? Why, when we have more data and technology than ever before, are many marketers still unable to understand customer behavior properly, or use data effectively to serve their customers with personalized, omnichannel messages and promotions?
In this blog we're going to delve into 'identity resolution' as a key component for personalization and behavioral analysis. We'll look at what identity resolution is and why it's becoming critical for marketers to understand customer behavior in a multi-device, digital world.
From a data standpoint, any one customer can be immensely complex, defined by basic information like age, gender, and location. Also by features like values and behavior, expressed in purchasing and browsing patterns. The lump sum of all of these data touchpoints goes towards the coveted Single Customer View and the creation of a ‘golden record’ – a compiled profile of the ‘best’ data from all your data systems. This allows marketers to accurately discern what a customer wants, what they are doing and what they may want in the future.
To achieve this Single Customer View in a multi-device world, gathering the necessary data requires marketers to establish one crucial thing: identity.
Identifying customers is vital because such a small percentage of digital traffic actually converts. It’s crucial to be able to resolve anonymous identifications in order to perform more targeted marketing, and to make a customer experience more consistent.
Identity is perhaps the most crucial building block of all data-driven marketing to allow us to deliver the right message, at the right time. The world is moving increasingly digital, and data is becoming more plentiful, complex, denser and more diffuse, which means that establishing identity is critical to enable better personalization.
Why Identity Resolution Matters
A truly accurate view of your customer fuels everything that marketers can do. It's a critical ingredient to deliver against rising expectations people have for experiences with brands.
- Accuracy: A consumer’s journey spans across multiple devices and channels. Identity resolution collects and connects all different types of personal identifiers to one person, so a customer can be recognized and targeted with the right content and in the right context across screens.
- Increased attribution: Attribution is the process of tracking and valuing all touchpoints. With identity resolution, brands can connect the dots throughout multi-channel purchase journeys to see what is really driving revenue rather than what appears to be driving it.
- Measurement: Identity resolution integrates offsite, onsite, and offline data to help marketers inform customer journey initiatives and understand a customer’s journey from first interaction to purchase.
Differences in devices and situational context
It's up to marketers, while respecting their customer's privacy, to collect the necessary information to better understand their preferences and behavior. For example, how and why are your customers engaging with your brand through one social media channel instead of another? How is your offline presence linked to their online behavior?
Identity resolution information fed into a Customer Data Platform (CDP) helps you identify both the specific needs of the customer and the situational context in which they are expressed. Understanding the web of devices through which a customer interacts with your brand is key to understanding the expectations they have for that interaction. For instance, if a customer interacts frequently with your brand through their phone, it is reasonable to assume they would like mobile notifications (say, discounts and promotions) when they’re near a physical store.
The Benefits of Identity Resolution
The stitching together of identifiers to build more detailed profiles of your customers has many benefits.
1. More effective marketing and advertising
- Behaviorally targeted (or re-targeted) ads
- Limit appearances of re-targeting ads across platforms with frequency capping
- Improve acquisition by identifying look-alike audiences for campaigns
2. Improve relevance with better personalization
- Create tailored offers and accurately personalized content
- Enable advertisers to serve sequenced messaging with ‘storytelling’ brand creatives across platforms
3. Develop deeper customer insights
- Build a foundation for predictive segmentation, modeling, and creating recommendations
- Understand and measure the impact and effectiveness of campaigns
4. Better data governance and privacy compliance
- Simpler profile and communication management
- Understand and adhere to opt-out and privacy preferences
Identity resolution provides a significant competitive advantage for organizations because it allows you as a marketer to perform deeper analysis of preferences across various devices. It allows you to identify behavioral patterns in order to create the level of personalization that consumers desire.
The combination of identity resolution with a CDP means that marketers have the potential to provide a fully personalized experience regardless of channel or device. You have the opportunity to ensure a consistency of message that is proven to boost conversion rates, build a deeper bond with your customers, and demonstrate your brand’s commitment to meeting their needs.