How Brick-And-Mortar Brands Can Use Identity Resolution To Build Traffic
identity resolution is the process of connecting people, data, and devices at any level of granularity and across any channel in order to garner insight from interactions with your brand. Acxiom's Chad Engelgau explains why its important for physical shops.
What have the highest-growth companies figured out over the last several years? That people-based marketing is a business imperative, not just a buzzword. The world’s most successful companies drive their businesses based on a foundational ability to consistently and accurately recognize people across engagements through the use of identity resolution. Without this critical piece, it’s nearly impossible to deliver great customer experiences and engage in the moment.
What Exactly Is Identity Resolution?
Simply put, identity resolution is the process of connecting people, data, and devices at any level of granularity and across any channel in order to garner insight from interactions with your brand and deliver more relevant marketing.
This process is supported by a construct often referred to as an “identity graph.” In the past, companies tried to create single customer view solutions using CDI, MDM and other types of databases. Today, identity attributes are expanding at an exponential rate, and most interactions occur on third-party platforms not specifically owned by the brand, which hinders the ability to bring this data together.
Effective identity graphs not only provide a view of a brand’s first-party data, they also connect with third-party and second party data to address data quality and completeness, and they include integrations with the broader marketing ecosystem that enable marketers to reach people across channels and devices.
Identity graphs are critical to not just ecommerce properties that try to find real people and signals across the myriad of anonymous traffic, but also to brick-and-mortar and multi-location brands.
Analyzing in-store traffic, connecting it to both known and centroid based audiences—whether segmented by lat-long zone, DMA or other method—provides brands with the necessary insight to identify and model key audiences and market to them both online and offline.
An Asset You Must Take Ownership Of
Gartner’s Martin Kihn perspective is, “Marketing leaders must master identity resolution and management to improve consumer experience, advertising targeting and analytics across channels and devices.” Similarly, Joe Stanhope at Forrester states that “Identity resolution is corporations’ next competitive battleground.” Identity resolution is foundational to a business’ success and helps pull together the fragmented pieces of contact information across interactions.
Identity resolution is not only imperative to people-based marketing, it is also fundamental to consumers’ relationship with the brand overall. Marketing leaders must recognize the importance and value that identity drives – they should take ownership of this capability and make understanding and leveraging this asset a priority.
While brands may want to own and manage this capability internally (just ask the IT guy) there is significant value in working with an identity resolution provider that can bring not only expertise but also the ability to resolve identity across channels and devices at scale.
Extending your Identity Reach
While brands can construct a basic identity graph from their first-party data, this approach yields very limited results. The information about a consumer gets stale over time. It must be cleansed, enhanced, and normalized against a truth set provided by a third party so the non-intuitive relationships of individual, household, address, and device can be linked accurately.
By adding these linkages to an identity graph, a brand can leverage the power of the provider’s “common key” (a sort of Rosetta Stone) to connect an identity graph to partners, data providers and ad-tech platforms that are also leveraging these common keys. As a fundamental requirement, a brand should use a third-party common key inside its graph to improve the portability of the data and ensure the highest match rates when extending the brand’s graph beyond the walls of its organization. This solution enables the matching of a greater number of touch points including those a brand may not have in its possession.
As the DMA Identity Council said, “Across data-driven marketing and media, customer identity is becoming the most critical capability to delivering seamless, personalized experiences that generate brand affinity and results. Without it, you cannot recognize your customers responsibly, immediately, and consistently. ” In an omnichannel world, identity resolution is foundational to a brand’s strategy, and marketers must take ownership for driving the requirements and usage of identity graphs to ensure effective customer engagement.
*Chad Engelgau is VP and Head of Global Identity & Data for Acxiom’s Audience Solutions division. He has over 20 years of experience in high-tech leading product management, marketing and strategy. Chad lives in Phoenix Arizona and heralds from Texas A&M University.