Identity isn’t just offline or online: It’s both

Many marketers and industry experts discuss the importance of identity resolution and how it’s the key to marketing success in an increasingly digital customer landscape. The keyword is digital.

Digital, while a very important piece of the equation, is not the only piece.

What is commonly overlooked is how the offline or PII data can help unlock a true single customer view and help better fuel online recognition.

What is meant by “better fueling online recognition”?

When combining the digital signals observed through media interaction, device engagement or online transactions, you can paint a very robust picture of who your customers are in a PII free, online environment. This activity is incredibly valuable in knowing your customer.

Combining rich insights and behavioral data with your known, customer profile data delivers the best of both worlds and creates endless opportunities to optimize marketing efforts such as:

  • personalization
  • more transparent attribution modeling
  • better insight into the frequency of customer exposure to marketing touchpoints

But in order to achieve seamless alignment of online identity and offline identity, you must ensure your offline data is clean, accurate and complete. Without those important pieces of the puzzle, the alignment might fall short.

Addressing gaps in data

Addressing gaps in offline customer data—and maintaining its accuracy—are critical to online identity and can make the difference in accurately aligning most of your customer identities vs a small subset, or worse, inaccurately identifying customers altogether.

Profiles with limited information such as name and email, or simply email, aren’t uncommon across the clients we serve. However, it’s imperative to start with an accurate name and postal address. Not only are they the most persistent pieces of identification, but they are also always associated to transactions, online or offline, forming a rock-solid foundation for deterministically linking disparate identities within your database.

Once name and postal address are validated, linking additional contact points and collapsing multiple identities becomes much easier. Combine those now linked identities with additional online signals observed daily across display media and the website pages your customer frequents, and you have the recipe for optimal identity resolution across both online and offline channels.

An additional benefit of maintaining the tidiness of your customers’ PII data is that you can use it to better support outbound and inbound marketing activities across any channel; from email to inbound calls to online advertising. Maintaining data quality isn’t a silver bullet, but it’s the closest thing to it for marketers.

To further illustrate the importance of starting with quality PII data, let’s look at a study we recently performed with a client to help them align their customer identities and resolve previously unidentifiable web activity.

Case study

A large national retailer was using their own in-house identity management system, but they were struggling to consistently recognize and connect with their customers across online and offline channels. They were also looking for ways to optimize their marketing programs and decrease expenses.

Using our identity resolution solutions, they:

  • Cleansed and persistently keyed all CRM records
  • Tagged website and media impressions
  • Aligned online and offline individuals to a common ID during a 7-day test period

The results:

  • 12% customer ID consolidation
  • 38.1 million total customer IDs consolidated
  • 9 million anonymous site visitors aligned to customer IDs
  • 3 million site interactions aligned to customer IDs
  • 7 million customer IDs aligned to their digital media impression activity
  • 18 million total digital media impressions aligned to customer IDs

What we tell clients, and what we proved through this example, is that aligning clean, validated customer data is imperative to online customer recognition. When onboarded, it can increase your ability to recognize and align individuals in your database to online identities.

Optimizing this process will extend your reach, help you truly know your customers across all channels and help you bridge the gap between online and offline recognition.

**Kyle Larson also contributed to this post.