With so many competing products and services, it can be challenging for retailers to stand out among the crowd. Shoppers are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of marketing messages daily, so retail marketers need to cut through the noise to reach loyal customers and attract new ones. This essentially comes down to relevancy. And relevancy starts with identity resolution.
People are always on the go and constantly bounce between devices throughout the day. A person may start the morning by looking at their smartphone, move to a laptop or tablet at work, and then come home and unwind by watching the latest episode of their favorite show on their smart TV. As customers are constantly on the go, they also leave a trail of data in their wake that helps marketers know when and how to connect to have the most impact.
But with all this data available, it can be daunting to try and decipher which data sets to use. Identities are comprised of different touch points a person uses to interact with a brand, such as email, in-store, web site, etc. But if the e-Commerce team isn’t sharing data with the email marketing team, the retailer runs the risk of delivering irrelevant, or redundant messages that don’t resonate with the customer, and are therefore forgotten, or worse — resented. What if marketers didn’t have to choose between one data set or another, but could instead put them all into a single customer view that empowers them to interact with the customers on each part of their journey to purchase?
Proper Identity Resolution Powers The Customer Experience
This is where identity resolutioncomes into play. New tools and advanced technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can empower marketers to take online data points and connect them with offline data and third-party resources to streamline them into a single view, in a privacy-compliant way. This unification enables actionable insights that can inform strategy far beyond just marketing: it can inform product decisions, store locations and strategic partnerships. In short, identity resolution helps the organization as a whole.
Identity resolution is so vital to creating relevant marketing campaigns today that Forrester’s Vice President and Principal Analyst Joe Stanhope said that it should be one of marketers’ top five priorities, citing it as one of the most strategic capabilities that can create great customer relationships.
Better Data = Better Customer Experience
Retailers have a longstanding tradition of creating relationships with their customers. For retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence that relationship could be built through the employees in the store: remembering customer names and preferences. But as people increasingly rely on online or mobile shopping, how does that translate to a digital experience? With new tools available, it’s easy to continue that relationship by delivering messages that meet the customers where they are — whether that’s on a smartphone, tablet, TV or another device altogether.
For example, let’s consider loyalty programs. Retailers have implemented them long before the digital age to keep customers coming back. Now, with loyalty programs that are digitally based, this provides a unique opportunity for marketers to enhance loyalty offerings by using identity resolution to create personalized offers and rewards to customers.
Relevancy Is Key
By leveraging identity resolution and having a deep understanding of who the customers are, marketers can create more personalized campaigns through the creation of specific customer segments. For instance, rather than sending an email detailing the latest sales to all loyalty members as one group, by evaluating the data available on the identity resolution platform, marketers can learn consumer preferences such as favorite brands, contact methods and times.
Let’s look at an example from a grocery store. The marketing department wants to tell its loyalty program members about their new keto section, and also the stock-up sale that’s about to happen on mac and cheese. Rather than send out one mass email, marketers have the ability to identify young families who consider mac and cheese a household staple. One of the optimal times to contact these people is through addressable advertising during daytime preschool programming. Then, separately, marketers can alert keto-diet enthusiasts about the new section, but rather than during daytime television, reach them in the evening when they’re driving home, streaming music.
The power of these personalized messages is their resonance: they matter to the customer, because it speaks to their priorities. Families will remember that mac and cheese is part of a stock-up sale, just as the person who lives and breathes keto will remember that there’s a store with a brand-new section created with them in mind.
At the end of the day, breaking down silos is not only transformational for the customer experience but for a marketer’s bottom line as well. No longer are ad dollars wasted, because they’re focused on the right customers, in the right place, at the right time. Without identity resolution, marketers run the risk of presenting redundant or irrelevant messages to customers. This can be a complete turnoff to a customer, as personalization is now an expectation. Customers should be at the heart of every marketing strategy, and identity resolution is the key to building relationships that can last a lifetime.
Aimee Irwin serves as VP of Strategy at Experian Marketing Services. She is a skilled strategy and corporate development executive with deep experience in digital marketing and advertising and a track record of success in developing and building profitable new digital and mobile businesses at both early stage and public companies.Irwin led strategic partnerships and strategic initiatives for Nielsen’s Marketing Cloud, where she negotiated and managed strategic data and identity management partnerships supporting Nielsen’s data targeting and marketing effectiveness businesses. Irwin also served as SVP of Strategy and Partnerships at Verve Mobile, a leading location-based mobile advertising platform. Prior to Verve, Irwin was VP of Strategy and Corporate Development for AOL’s advertising businesses. She started her career in consulting with KPMG and Bain and Company, and has a BS from Georgetown University and an MBA from Kellogg.