The world we are living in today is completely different than the world a few years ago. Technology has made us more connected to devices, brands, and people. Consumers interchangeably use physical and digital touchpoints through their consumption journeys. This makes it extremely difficult for brands to identify unique consumers and understand their preferences and lifestyles.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a true black swan event that has brought with it colossal changes to consumer behavior, making identity resolution even trickier and difficult to crack. One of the biggest impacts has been seen on the channels consumers choose to consume content, research and buy.
Moreover, recent events such as the deprecation of third-party cookies by major web browsers and the user privacy-related updates in iOS14 have left brands grappling with the already complex question of consumer identity resolution.
All these developments have left brands across industries wondering with one big question - Who are my audiences really?
The WHAT is always preceded by the WHO
Every brand needs to understand and engage with its audiences at various critical steps. Segmentation, new product launches, new market expansion, audience targeting strategies, and offering them personalized products and services is a complex balancing act. To achieve all this, brands need a comprehensive understanding of their audiences - where do they live and work, which brands do they shop from and how frequently, what leisure activities they like, what are the most important moments and aspirations of their lives, and so on. Not only this, brands today need to understand the complete life cycles of consumers and string together every piece of information to arrive at intelligent marketing solutions that can drive action.
A snapshot of what brands need to know about their consumers today
This means digging deep into consumers’ short-term and long-term goals, people they get influenced by, and how much information they are willing to share.
So, what are the challenges while trying to achieve all this?
Duplication of efforts
Today, consumers are increasingly using multiple devices, and identifying each of them uniquely can become an uphill task in the absence of a reliable identity resolution solution. This leads to wasted efforts while trying to engage with them as brands tend to repeat communication with the same audiences logged in from different devices and domains.
Longer time taken to achieve goals
A fragmented view of consumers only tells half the truth. When brands cannot identify consumers across their omnichannel journeys, they take more time and spend more money to acquire them, build trust, and finally lose consumers to their competition.
Poor measurement and optimization
Every engagement effort has a scope of improvement - more people could have seen a brand’s ads, more consumers could have adopted and recommended their new product in their social circles, or maybe more people could have walked into their stores. This improvement can be difficult if brands do not identify their consumers persistently.
Because of all these challenges, understanding the WHO becomes a prerequisite to understanding the WHATS about consumers. A unique identity of every user across touchpoints is the first building block of every personalized interaction thereafter.
Identity resolution and your business goals
A single persistent identity helps you minimize duplicated efforts. Deduplicating consumers and engaging with them as unique users agnostic of channels and devices they use can be only done if you have a persistent identifier in place.
Beyond duplication, identity resolution has a larger role to play in helping brands achieve business goals faster. Whether it is an attempt to increase the share of wallet or customer acquisition, accomplishing every business goal requires a deep understanding of consumers. For example, for a retail business, accurate consumer identity could immensely help with precise segmentation and micro-segmentation, rolling out relevant offers on products, and also personalizing cross-channel consumer experience.
Measuring the impact of all engagement activities is another critical step to optimize all long term engagement and personalization efforts. When a brand knows its consumers well through their unique identities and preferred lifestyles, it becomes easy to measure their response to all the strategic and tactical steps taken to get them to interact and buy more often from the brand.
Engaging consumers is an art, identifying them is science
While your engagement efforts need to be creative and empathetic with so much changing in the world of business lately, identity resolution asks for precision and science. When choosing an identity resolution solution, brands need to keep in mind the underlying technologies used. Moreover, opting for solutions that help brands not just identify consistently but also engage consumers and measure performance ensures there is no information loss at every step of the process.
Brands can initiate by analyzing what insights they already have about their consumers and what are the missing links. The next step should be to curate additional intelligence in order to find the missing pieces of the puzzle. And finally, they need to string all this consumer identity and behavior intelligence together to strategize, engage, and measure effectively.
Christian Clark is country manager at Near.
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