By: Kathy Menis, SVP at Signal
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 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 and relevant 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?