Customer identity management – why it pays to know your customers in a post-cookie world?

Enterprises are rethinking their identity management strategies to avoid degraded customer experience and increased marketing waste.

Google’s recent announcement that it will soon prohibit the use of third-party cookies on its Chrome web browser has highlighted the growing importance of brands optimising their own first-party customer data.

Often, businesses overlook offline channels. But, these channels — like direct mail — are the key to tapping into high-value customers when powered by first-party data.

What does this mean for marketing teams?

In the fast-approaching post-cookie world, marketing teams from all sectors face two broad challenges if they fail to manage customer identity:

  • Difficulty personalising their marketing.
  • Serious complications with optimising campaign performance and ROI.

Without identifiers, brands will lose the ability to understand their customers, which will result in a degraded customer experience and increased marketing waste.

In a nutshell, what’s the solution?

Using a combination of third-party cookies and first-party data capture strategies, marketeers can start building customer data platforms that are designed for enterprise success, fit with a single view of customers, refined segments and better campaign measurement, all while exceeding regulatory requirements on security and privacy.

Deeper dive. So, how exactly are marketing teams preparing to face the growing challenge of customer identity management?

A recent Epsilon survey of organisations across APAC, Middle East, and Africa, is indicative of global marketing spend. It reveals that:

  • Marketing teams with decreasing budgets are prioritising functional necessities such as improving privacy safeguards.

  • Teams with increasing budgets are investing in marketing research and third-party services to prepare themselves for a post-cookie future.

  • The hiring and training of marketing personnel is another key area of investment, with organisations adopting this approach to overcome the identity management skills gap.

  • Companies are also attempting to develop their own tech capabilities, rather than buying off the shelf, despite the extensive resources, training and testing required. The benefits of market-leading white label solutions include thorough real-world testing, faster time-to-value and the technical expertise and support of the tech vendor.

  • Artificial intelligence is one of the few tech solutions that companies are generally prepared to buy off the shelf.

The increasing popularity of customer data platforms (CDPs).

On average, customers use 3 or more channels to make a purchase decision, so having disparate views of a customer (depending on the channel) makes any cross-channel efforts inaccurate or nearly impossible. To combat this growing problem, companies are increasingly realising the importance of thinking about data holistically and prioritising investments that help build a strong data structure that will reveal 360-degree customer views and provide end-to-end visibility of customer journeys and experiences. Enter the Customer Data Platform (CDP).

In simple terms, a CDP ingests all available first-party data and unifies it into profiles that marketers can then use to inform decisions. Data can be completely raw or come from other systems like CRM or customer service databases. CDPs have proved extremely valuable in getting businesses ahead to the next phase of customer experiences — competing with the likes of Amazon and Netflix for incredible customer journeys.

What are the most important features of a customer data platform?

According to the Epsilon's research, unified customer profiles are named by marketing teams as one of the most important features of CDPs, preceded only by audience segmentation:

      • 40% Audience segmentation
      • 36% Unified customer profile
      • 34% Enterprise scale, security, and privacy
      • 26% Identity resolution

What key characteristics are marketing teams looking for when choosing an identity resolution partner?

Epsilon’s research reveals that accuracy and compliance are the most desired traits of an identity resolution partner, beating cost.

      • 77% Accuracy
      • 68% Privacy and compliance
      • 57% Personalisation
      • 2% Cost

An ideal identity resolution partner will, therefore, fulfil the need to balance customer privacy compliance, while delivering intuitive, personalised, and data-informed customer experiences.

What steps should CX practitioners and marketers take now?

The bottom line 

Our research shows that most marketing teams are committed to rethinking their ID management strategy in the light of Google’s cookie announcement. However, there is still much work to be done to generate and operationalise first-party customer identity data. Brands who neglect to act risk losing visibility of their customers, experiencing difficulty when personalising marketing, complications with optimising ROI and a significant increase in marketing waste.

Direct mail is your #1 tool for capturing quality customers

In our ever-increasing digital lives, the impact that direct mail can have on your marketing program is invaluable.

Especially for those who are not digital natives, and maybe yearn for more physical marketing, prioritising direct mail can drive growth for your business. *MarketReach data suggests that 41 % searched online for more information about a brand as a result of receiving mail in the last 12 months. Many of our clients believe that personalised direct mail is effective at reaching key customer segments.

Direct mail strategies

With your foundation of data in place and triggered suited to fit your business needs, it’s a breeze to set up personalised direct mail to customers at ideal times in their customer journey.

Direct mail should be a vital step in your nurture campaigns and ultimately your marketing strategy.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Alliance Databse can help your direct mail campaigns reach out to us at enquiriesuk@epsilon.com