5 Reasons Your Identity Solution Must Move As Fast As Your Customers

Video Transcript +

Kathy: Consumers don’t differentiate a brand, whether they’re in the store, online, on their mobile app, or at a call center. It’s one brand. Brands need to be able to identify the consumer in a consistent way.

Marc: Brands want to connect with their customers. They want to create loyalty. They have to move to a more retention-based strategy. They’re still going to continue to acquire new customers, but they can’t solely stay focused on acquisition.

Mike: Marketers today understand that the conversation with their customer is key to keeping that customer engaged with the brand and coming back to that brand to buy in the future.

Marc: If they don’t anticipate their customers’ needs and the don’t communicate with their customer in a clear and consistent manner, their competitors will.

Mike: You know, CMOs today have often been compared to CTOs. They have massive integration challenges. They have bought disparate pieces of technology over many, many decades. More importantly, none of these technologies can continuously carry on the conversation.

Marc: I think what’s broken is the gap between marketing technology and advertising technology. In that world, marketers have to play either on one side of the fence which is their own domain or another side of the fence which is kind of the opened paid and earned market. Unfortunately, there’s no connection between the two.

Most brands have been working within silos to date. There was a solution for insights or modeling business intelligence, which existed separate from what was happening in the marketing and media space.

Mike: The challenge is, what’s the binding technology that brings all of those silos together into a single connected experience. That’s where Signal comes in.

Imagine being able to consistently identify a customer through your commerce channels, through your marketing channels, and your service channels. That consistent conversation leads to consistent marketing results, more loyal customers, and a higher return on spend.

Marc: It’s really important for a brand to have a consistent, persistent view of their customer along the customer journey. They should have the most up-to-date view of their customer up to the second view of their customer.

Kathy: To do that, they need an identity capability that recognizes the consumer, that brings all of the relevant data to that critical moment of engagement so that that consumer feels understood and recognized.

Marc: I think the challenge for marketers today is that all they’ve had available to them or all that’s being sold to them is really kind of focused on the media space. It’s about creating connected experiences within media, but it really doesn’t tie back to the customer experience within the four walls of the brand’s own environment. That’s the challenge today.

Mike: This isn’t a marketing problem, a service problem, or a commerce problem. Identity is an enterprise problem.

Neil: The philosophy that organizations talk about being customer-centric which is overused at times, really starts to think about actually recognizing a customer, doing it consistently, but doing it in a way that’s underpinned by one platform so an identity platform is actually focused around customers, not around devices, not around cookies actually around people.

Jamie: An identity solution must be in place in order for a brand to deliver a continuous experience across mobile, across web, even in-store because it’s the connective tissue for knowing who a customer is.

Marc: Identity is absolutely an asset that should be owned and controlled by the marketer. Their customer is their customer. They shouldn’t be renting their customer from somebody and they shouldn’t be giving their customer to somebody.

Neil: The easiest way to look at it is other solutions that have previously existed, you’re essentially renting your own customer relationships. You own your relationship with your customers, so having an identity solution that allows you to go forward with control around the relationships, around how your own destiny is going to drive value to your customers rather than renting identity from somebody else. It doesn’t make sense to drive long-term value for your business.

Mike: Identity is at the core of everything a modern brand marketer needs to do to be successful. They have to identify who their customer is, where they are, and what they want. Be able to bind that identity together across a fragmented digital ecosystem is increasingly difficult, and it’s Signal’s mission to solve that.

Neil: A brand, a publisher, and an agency should choose Signal for two very, very big reasons. One, we are the business that allows you to get closer to your customers than you’ve ever done before. We aren’t dependent on digital technology, offline technology. We’re about putting the customer and identity at the heart of all of your engagement. We’re Signal. We help you remain in control.

Marc:There’s no guessing. The future of marketing doesn’t allow for guessing. The consumer is going to call out the marketers that guess and quite honestly, the marketers that guess will the ones that lose.

Blane: If you don’t have an up to the second view of who I am or what I’m trying to accomplish right now, you’re missing an opportunity to engage with me in this moment. I might be making a decision right now about what to buy or about whether to stay with you as a brand or maybe to move on to another offer that I have. If you can’t identify me and understand who I am and what I might be up to, then you’re going to miss that critical moment of being able to engage me right now.

Neil: Signal allows you to connect in real time with customers and identify them with the most relevant offers or messages that drive more value and ultimately more money out that of that wallet.

The phrase “a seamless, highly-engaging customer experience” is both a dream and a nightmare for today’s B2C marketers.

It’s a dream because highly engaged, loyal customers are the high-octane fuel needed to power brand growth. In fact, fully engaged customers are, on average, 52% more valuable than those who are just highly satisfied. To achieve the dream, a brand must be able to recognize a specific customer at any point of interaction, online or offline, and deliver an individually relevant message or offer.

Creating great, connected experiences is a nightmare because the data and marketing technology they require are themselves the opposite of seamless. Customer data resides in a multiplicity of POS, CRM, DMP, e-commerce, web analytics and other systems. Brands are further challenged to activate their customer data in a rapidly-evolving martech landscape that has exploded from about 1,000 vendors in 2015 to more than 3,500 in 2016. Some brands have successfully closed the gap for a few components of their marketing mix — for example, delivering individually-customized emails — but few have a comprehensive solution.

An enterprise-wide customer identity solution can serve as the connective tissue that brands need to integrate their customer data and orchestrate the entire customer experience. It’s different from other identity resolution approaches in its ability to keep up with — and positively impact — your customers, your brand, and your entire enterprise. Here’s how it’s different:

Identity That Moves With Your Customers

Customer identity resolution systems were originally designed for a single purpose: to match a brand’s own list of customers to the digital “keys” (i.e., browser cookies or mobile device IDs) used for online ad targeting. The goal was simply to deliver or suppress ads to specific customers for the duration of one ad campaign with one vendor. The resulting identity graph (or ID graph) was thus narrow in scope and short in lifespan.

With a customer identity solution, however, the links between the brand’s customers and its marketing partners’ targeting “keys” are continuously refreshed. In addition, as the brand’s knowledge of the customer grows, the customer’s profile becomes more robust – updated with customer data from the brand’s websites, apps, POS, CRM and more.

Thus, the brand’s identity asset (the ID graph) is both dynamic and durable, evolving at the speed of the customer, for the lifetime of the customer.

With an always-active ID graph, a brand can deliver individually relevant messages to each customer, via whatever marketing channel will best reach that customer. Imagine how customer lifetime value can grow, by maintaining a continuity of individually relevant communications across time.

Identity that moves with your brand

Within the paid advertising space alone, a brand typically works with multiple vendors. Now add the other addressable marketing channels that brands own and control, such as websites, apps and email. The result is a fragmented view of the customer’s interaction with the brand. Historically, brands have been limited in their ability to freely integrate customer data across these various vendors and platforms to create a unified view of their customer. And doing this while maintaining the integrity of the customer data has been impossible.

But with an enterprise-wide identity solution, a brand owns its customer identity asset and has the flexibility to use it for marketing activation with any vendor, on any platform. The brand is free to choose and change its marketing partners at any time, without losing any of its customer identity data. The marketing team can now activate their customer profiles across all digital, physical and human touchpoints, including stores, contact centers, paid media and owned media (e.g., websites, apps), as well as emerging contact points such as Internet of Things devices, addressable cable/satellite TV and video. Thus, the brand’s identity asset is portable and flexible, able to support a wide range of marketing applications now and into the future.

Identity That Moves With Your Entire Company

As explained earlier, identity resolution systems were originally built to support marketing applications with a limited scope.

In contrast, an enterprise-wide identity solution enables a brand to build a much more comprehensive ID graph that can be applied well beyond the advertising use case. Consider the many ways such a unified customer profile can be used to inform and improve customer-related functions: more accurate attribution analytics, improved customer support, web personalization, refined in-store experience, etc. Thus, a brand’s identity asset can be applied beyond marketing to enhance other functions and ensure the voice of the customer is heard throughout the enterprise.

Top benefits of an Enterprise-Wide Identity Solution

Here are five powerful reasons why leading brands are moving toward an enterprise-wide customer identity solution:

1. To meet customer expectations for personally relevant experiences every time.

When a customer has browsed your site 20 times and bought from you five times already, she expects you to know her and to respect her time by curating the brand information and deals she sees.

2. To enable connected, not disjointed, customer experiences that save the customer time and effort.

Whether a customer is buying online, browsing in-store or dealing with your support center, she expects you to use what you’ve learned from her past brand interactions to make her next experience more convenient and hassle-free.

3. To measure retention & loyalty marketing efforts at the individual customer level.

When the brand owns its own customer identity graph, it can make a 1:1 connection between marketing impressions delivered and customer responses for better attribution analysis.

4. To build lasting customer relationships and greater lifetime value.

In a transaction-based business, customers who had a great customer experience (rated 8+ out of 10) spent 60% to 140% more per year than those who had less satisfying experiences (rated 7 or less).

5. To future-proof the brand’s ability to connect with customers, wherever they go in the ever-changing media and shopping ecosystem.

Consider these stats: Addressable cable/satellite TV advertising is projected to grow from $0.9B in 2016 to $2B in 2018, while over-the-top (OTT) streaming video is now watched by over 70% of Internet users on a monthly basis and almost 60% of US households are using Internet-connected TVs.

Continuous customer recognition ensures seamless experiences

You can’t deliver the kind of seamless experiences your customers expect without the right data foundation. But with an enterprise-wide identity solution, you can transform the customer experience by connecting an always-active profile to customer engagements across all human, physical and digital touchpoints. Is your brand ready?

Originally published March 14, 2017

Kathy Menis

Kathy is an expert in technology marketing, with 20 years of experience creating and leading strategic, results-driven marketing programs. She was formerly the CMO at Signal.

Subscribe for Updates