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Identity management: Five ways to reach the right customers at the right time

When it comes to modern marketing, relevant and timely messaging is all that matters. In other words, saying the right thing to your customer at the right time sells. But to achieve this feat, brands must get to know their customers very, very well. Get it wrong – for example, by spamming customers with offers for products they have already purchased – and brands can instead frustrate, annoy and upset them. 

Deeper dive:

Research by Gartner shows that brands risk losing 38% of their customers if their personalisation efforts miss the target. Despite these risks, however, a recent Epsilon/CX Network survey across APAC, Middle East and Africa, reveals that 68% of companies continue to struggle with incomplete customer profiles and disorganised data sets. Meanwhile, 24% still have customer data siloed by channel or business function. 

Take action

Here we outline four ways brands can get closer to their customers:

1. Improve analytics capabilities

Companies are increasingly realising the importance of taking a holistic approach 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. Companies that want to build strong engagement strategies must first find and analyse relevant buying patterns in past customer journeys.

This approach enables marketeers to:

  • Predict and reveal future customer buying behaviour.
  • Develop and implement marketing messaging aimed at satisfying customer demand.

CX practitioners and marketeers can use data-driven insights on channels such as webpages, social media, and self-service portals to determine what content buyers prefer engaging with and adapt their strategy accordingly. 

2. Review and develop your first-party data strategy

Marketing teams should resist the urge to jump ahead and focus on optimising campaigns and increasing targeted engagement. Instead they are advised to concentrate on laying a firm foundation for customer ID programmes first by correcting incomplete customer profiles. Once marketing teams have built up a clear picture of their customers and their buying habits they will be able to start creating personalised customer experiences that resonate. 

3. Plan for the post-cookie era

Google Chrome’s self-imposed deadline to phase out third-party cookies by 2023 is fast approaching. So it is imperative that brands start to develop an alternative, post-cookie customer identification strategy now. Brands should address their own identity data infrastructure weaknesses to ensure their first-party data is well organized, unified across company divisions and can be relied upon to help deliver market-leading personalisation in a post-cookie world. In order to optimise identity management in the post-cookie era, marketing teams should consider using a broader mix of identifiers.

Suitable customer identifiers include:

  • Email address 
  • Phone number 
  • Authentication details 
  • IP address 
  • Cookies 
  • Internal identifier 
  • Social media ID or handle 
  • Device ID 
  • Online transaction data 
  • Postal address 
  • Login data from your site 
  • Offline transactions data 
  • Third-party persistent identifier 

If using a wider range of identifiers is too difficult, systems such as Epsilon’s proprietary technology need only two trackable data points to create a customer ID.

4. Track and pre-empt customer behaviour to increase lifetime value

Improved visibility of post-purchase behaviour can have a direct impact on a company’s bottom line through enhanced cross-selling and up-selling. This information can reveal which customer segments are most likely to convert on a particular up-sell or which product-bundling suggestions are best for a cross-sell with existing customers. With an effective customer identity management strategy brands are better placed to: 

  • Track and understand customer behaviours and preferences.
  • Gather insights from webpages, social media and self-service portals.
  • Analyse past customer journeys, so that future journeys can be anticipated and optimised.

What steps should CX practitioners and marketeers take now?

Without a coherent strategy to guide data capture, brands risk intensifying the issue of fragmented customer profiles. Despite this, more than 60% of brands suffer from incomplete customer profiles, relating to gaps in first-party data held on customers. These incomplete customer profiles place a company’s customer engagement tactics at risk of being disjointed, leading to long gaps between touchpoints or frustrating interactions that fail to reflect the customer’s preferences. Where necessary brands should seek the support of identity enrichment experts to construct smooth customer journeys with interactions that will boost customer lifetime values.

Find out more

For more expert insight and advice on optimising customer profile development read Epsilon’s latest report, Key Drivers for Identity Management.