The Future of Identity Is Persistence and Portability

Identity resolution is not a one-and-done. Rather, it is best viewed as an ongoing process.

To optimize this process, marketers must think holistically about all of their customer data collection and application needs. The process must recognize that the customer journey can move rapidly across devices and channels. It must account for the growing array of connected devices used by today’s always-on consumers, such as smartphones, smart TVs, in-car screens, in-store beacons, check-out/payment systems, wearables and voice-activated personal assistants like the Amazon Echo. And it must adapt to an ever-changing ecosystem of marketing activation vendors.

For marketers to correctly recognize each customer in real-time across all of these touchpoints, their identity solutions, too, must be always-on. Most importantly, in the coming year, marketers will be focused on making their customer identities both persistent and portable.

Build for the Long Haul

Let’s look at the issue of persistence first. A customer is not a single transaction, but a long-term relationship. Therefore, marketers are turning away from short-lived web cookies and moving toward an enterprise-level customer ID that will persist across time.

A persistent ID enables instant customer recognition at all touchpoints, a single view of historical as well as current customer activity, and the ability to activate marketing accordingly. Persistent identities take marketing beyond a single interaction or campaign, enabling a longer-term approach to customer engagement, a more consistent customer experience across channels, and potentially transformative results.

Prepare for Critical Moments

And what about the issue of portability? Consumer attention spans are short. No matter how great one’s current marketing tactics are, boredom eventually sets in, forcing the marketer to find new ways to engage consumers.

Identity data, therefore, needs to be portable: exportable to other vendors, usable on any marketing activation platform and actionable for any type of marketing from CRM emails and personalized website interactions to in-store and call center applications. An open data platform ensures that existing customer data can be carried forward when new and better technologies and vendors beckon.

Future-Proof Your Identity Strategy

When identity data is always on, persistent and portable, marketers will have a solid foundation to support individually addressable marketing strategies and, ultimately, to build each customer’s lifetime value. Take these steps to ensure your identity strategy is best-equipped to support your marketing efforts this year and beyond.

1. Prioritize flexibility and scalability.

The customer journey crosses a growing number of devices and communication channels. Make your data platform ready to absorb more data types and more frequent updates.

2. Evaluate the persistence of your customer identity data.

The ability to preserve customer data for only a few weeks or months, as with most cookie-based solutions, is no longer enough. Strive for identities that will persist over years, even an entire customer lifetime.

3. Choose a future-proof identity solution.

Look for new opportunities to use your identity assets to improve customer engagement and ROMI. Make sure your identities are portable, so you can use them for any application on any platform.

Originally published January 10, 2017

Nick McCarthy

Nick formerly lead Signal’s strategy, sales and business development efforts across the UK, Europe, and Middle East. With over 15 years of experience as a data-driven marketer and business leader, Nick has always focused on helping organizations use data to make better business decisions.

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