Today’s customers and prospects engage with brands across many devices and touchpoints. Sometimes these individuals are well-identified, such as when they make a purchase, contact a call center or complete an online form. At other times, contacts are anonymous, as when browsing a website or participating in a social media community. The challenge for organizations in this new environment is to de-anonymize unidentified engagements, capture identifiable but often non-digital (off-line) information, and integrate all this data into holistic customer profiles that facilitate individually tailored marketing campaigns. The solutions are found in new technologies that together define an exciting new field called “Identity Resolution.” This article provides insight into the identity resolution process.
The Identity Resolution Process
Identity Resolution seamlessly integrates online and offline data to create a single comprehensive customer data record. Forrester® identifies four key components of Identity Resolution: data, identities, profiles and outcomes. Here’s how they fit together:
1: Gather the data. Identity Resolution tools first compile customer data from a variety of online and off-line sources. This data provides keys to customer identity that vary in precision and “persistence,” from something as permanent and personally identifiable as an email address to something as fleeting as an online “cookie” that may only provide an IP address.
2: Perform ‘Identity Resolution’. The tools then seek to map this diverse data to a single individual. Using sophisticated technology, the software knows – via cookie IDs, mobile device IDs, etc. – which websites or social media communities an individual has visited. Elsewhere on the Internet, the individual has more than likely revealed either his or her name, physical address, email address and/or a phone number (i.e., the individual has ‘authenticated’). The software then links the known individual to each of the cookie IDs and/or mobile device IDs that the individual created online. The result is a merged, single customer data record.
3: Integrate merged data into a holistic customer profile. The merged, single customer data record – containing device and channel data, self-submitted information, point-of-sale data and information from third-party data sources – is now ready for use in creating holistic customer profiles within a CRM system.
4: Analyze and apply. The result of the Identity Resolution process is to be able to recognize customers across devices and touchpoints, put customer activities into context, and support relevant customer experiences. Companies can apply data analytics tools to segment customers and prospects, create look-alike models for ad targeting, determine appropriate offers, suggest next best offer, and more.
Integrate off-line and online customer data to create seamless, holistic customer profiles. In this in-depth video, Barton Goldenberg discusses a new technology called Identity Resolution that makes this possible.