As more consumers move online to interact with brands, more companies rely on technology to drive consumer engagement and product adoption. The vast majority of consumers today engage, interact, and complete purchases across multiple channels.
This evolution of customer behavior has introduced new challenges for brands hoping to keep track of these consumers as they navigate and interact with different technologies. Today, brands struggle to use data to understand their customers in meaningful ways — even when they think they do.
- Although 84% of businesses agree that recognizing their customers (across channels and over time) is extremely important, only one-third of consumers are confident that businesses can do so.
- Even a brand’s most loyal customers likely have at least six different identities within their marketing system, according to Marketing Profs. Some audience members could even have over 100.
- Most C-level executives overestimate their marketing organization’s customer identity accuracy and persistence, according to Forrester.
But what’s the problem? It starts with disjointed systems.
Understanding how your tech stack impacts identity resolution
For any brand, each marketing platform in their stack will have unique IDs, varying data integrity levels, and cleansing processes: making managing a user profile across all of these systems nearly impossible.
According to Actable, “Each system in your marketing universe has its own internal ID. An ESP may have one or two. A web page may have several sets of cookies to cover anonymous and authenticated sessions. CRM systems will also have customer identifiers, and sometimes they can even change over time. Trying to keep track of the relationships between all of these systems can be challenging, if every one of those system-specific values are in the mix.”
Sound familiar? Here’s a tip: accept some of the limitations this might impose, in service of a flexible and easy-to-use identity model that puts activation closer at hand.
What other hurdles should brands keep in mind?
For many businesses, regardless of size, data overload the leading contributor to identity management issues. Per recent insights from Spiceworks, “There is a seemingly infinite volume of offline and online attributes, such as name, email address, cookies, transaction history, mobile device identifiers, etc. Each one of these attributes gives you a glimpse into the customer, but the ability to connect these disparate data sets (in a privacy compliant manner) can create a 360-degree view of the customer and help organizations make [better, faster, smarter] decisions. It all starts with the right resolution and matching process.”
Growing investments in identity management reflect the importance of this process. We’re also seeing more awareness among brands of identity resolution as an essential part of their foundation for customer experience excellence. This year, spending will surpass $10.4B: jumping to 3.5x what it was in 2018.
Today, the organizations not yet investing in a robust, powerful identity management solution are slated to fall even further behind in the race toward customer-centricity.
But even among brands who have invested in identity management tooling, it’s not exactly smooth sailing.
There are two primary missteps that businesses using ID management platforms usually make when creating a strategy for building consumer profiles:
- They consider every possible way that data could behave and try to build out a highly manual, resource-intensive process around that.
- They create a profile and forget it, assuming that it will maintain integrity on its own.
Here’s how you address them.
How can Lytics solve for top identity management issues?
Built on a powerful identity graph, Lytics identity resolution is specifically equipped to handle complex ID strategies. With minimal lift, the Lytics graph can be configured to merge, manage, and maintain ID strategies. Plus, as an agnostic ID platform, Lytics can take any number of IDs and apply algorithms and machine learning to continuously maintain and protect consumer profiles.
This means customers can use Lytics accurately and effectively, targeting customers with minimal manual intervention — and count on their ability to do that anytime, with confidence.
What sets Lytics identity resolution apart?
When it comes to identity resolution, Lytics’ key differentiators revolve around how Lytics materializes and maintains profiles (or, how Lytics ensures consistently accurate profiles over time, even as data and identifiers change).
What is profile materialization, how can it go wrong, and how does Lytics help?
Put simply, profile materialization speaks to the process of creating a customer profile. And from a materialization standpoint, the most common challenges that can cause data to incorrectly stitch to profiles are over-merging and under-merging.
Mistake #1: Over-merging profiles
Over-merging is a scenario when multiple profiles are merged together incorrectly due to unexpected consumer behavior.
For instance, two people sharing the same machine could share the same cookie when looking at the same websites. The raw data would suggest that these profiles should be combined to represent a single marketable entity. This could result in emailing the wrong consumers, behavioral scores being incorrect, inflated content affinities scores, etc.
For companies with an elevated compliance concern, this can also cause opt-in statuses to be inaccurate. In many cases, this scenario occurs without even being noticed. In the best-case scenario, the ID platform would have to manually intervene to fix the data.
To address this, Lytics:
- Will constantly monitor the data for this scenario and manually unlink any profiles where this occurs.
- Will protect the profiles by not merging IDs together if the ID is in conflict with the ID rules configured.
- Will consistently keep the profile in the best possible state, with a focus on compliance and profile accuracy.
Mistake #2: Under-merging profiles
Under-merging is the reverse scenario, where two profiles should be linked but are not. This tends to happen when they fall within an edge case (or are an exception to the identity rules across a majority of the Martech stack).
For example, a customer should only have one email and one customer ID across their profile, unless the profile was manually modified in the customer database. In this specific scenario, a single email could be seen with two customer IDs in that channel only. In most platforms, this edge case would cause some malformed profiles. A resource-intensive manual process would need to be created in order to clean this scenario up as it appears.
To address this, Lytics:
- Can be configured to identify specific patterns in the graph and materialize the profile correctly.
- Can maintain a channel-level merge pattern, meaning Lytics would only allow two customer IDs on a profile if they are both linked to the same email.
Does proper profile materialization ensure a healthy profile?
Profile materialization, although very important, does not guarantee a healthy profile over time on its own.
Most ID platforms focus on ID stitching and resolving identities to a single profile, but this is only a fraction of what is necessary to maintain profile health and integrity.
According to Mark Hayden, VP of Product at Lytics, “Over time, profiles face a couple of different challenges: all driven by the data. The first challenge many customers face is bloat. A profile, especially one that represents a highly engaged consumer, will constantly have new IDs and attributes appended to it. Eventually, the profile will get so large that it will impact overall platform performance. In most cases, ID platforms would stop updating the profile once it gets to a certain size. This is something that’s very challenging to detect and monitor until audience sizes and campaign performance are already being impacted.”
Lytics has several continuous processes that make sure the profile is resilient over time and continues to maintain the most relevant information. In fact, when it comes to profile maintenance, Lytics is both unique and state-of-the-art.
- Lytics will constantly maintain the profile and compact it whenever possible to make sure that the profile never hits data limits. In essence, Lytics becomes self-healing.
- Lytics can be configured to remove stale data and profiles whenever the data or the profile hits certain configurable criteria. This ensures that the only data within Lytics is relevant, accurate, and compliant. Lytics will also constantly monitor the data for this scenario and manually unlink any profiles where this occurs.
- Lytics will protect the profiles by not merging IDs together if the ID is in conflict with the ID rules configured. In essence, constantly keeping the profile in the best possible state with a focus on compliance and profile accuracy.
Lytics CDP identity resolution: Maintaining dynamic, compliant customer profiles in 3 steps
In today’s fast-paced digital world, customer data is the lifeblood of any successful business. Collecting and analyzing consumer interactions across touchpoints is essential to gain insights into their behavior, preferences, and needs. But with so many sources of data and different ways to identify individuals, it can be challenging to create a unified view of your customer.
Actable explains, “Every additional way we have to know who our customers are may be a key to unlocking more data. But adding more identifiers into the mix adds complexity. This complexity manifests in additional time to value: more complicated data modeling, increased data processing costs, and more opportunities for the creation of edge cases which may gum up execution.”
That’s where Lytics unique approach to identity management comes in: to help guide your brand through the initial definition of an identity resolution strategy, maintain its effectiveness, and ensure compliance and privacy throughout.
Today, most enterprise CDP users (75%) consider loading data from all sources and resolving customer identities (57%) the two most important CDP capabilities. With Lytics CDP in particular, foolproof identity resolution is a three-step process:
1. [ Define] Understand consumer IDs and how they relate.
The initial phase of defining a consumer profile is about understanding consumer IDs and how those IDs relate to each other. Each ID has its own behaviors and characteristics, and they will impact how data is merged into the profile. The cumulative effect of these IDs shapes the evolution of the consumer profile over time.
Defining these behaviors and relationships is crucial to building out the fundamental building blocks for the consumer profile. The end goal of this phase is to create a set of instructions the graph can use to organize, link, and store the IDs as they appear in the data streams in Lytics.
2. [Construct] Structure the profile to best support customer engagement.
Once the graph rules are established, entities start to form: leveraging the relationships between IDs that have been previously defined. However, these entities may or may not represent an ideal marketable consumer, which is where the Construct stage comes in.
The Construct stage of ID resolution materializes the profile by taking the graph and applying an additional logic layer to create an actionable profile representing ideal merging behavior. This is a necessary step as the organic behavior of consumers, in many cases, will defy either the expected consumer behavior or the initial rules set up in the defined stage of ID resolution, which in turn causes incorrect data to display on the profile.
Lytics helps you understand how to group and merge different IDs into a single shape to create a more complete and accurate view of your customer. This stage is essential for precise segmentation and personalized marketing.
3. [Maintain] Keep profiles healthy over time.
The Maintain stage is where Lytics ensures the accuracy and health of the customer profile over time. Lytics continuously cleans and heals the graph to keep profiles up to date and ensure that they reflect the consumer’s behavior. This stage is essential for maximizing match rates and effectiveness in downstream marketing activation channels.
The combined goal of Lytics CDP’s identity resolution strategy is to provide businesses with a compliant, dynamic customer profile that reflects consumer behavior across all touchpoints. Lytics empowers companies to incorporate the nuances of their unique business and consumer base while ensuring security, privacy, and compliance are top of mind throughout the entire lifecycle.
The Lytics advantage? Identity resolution done smarter.
By following the three-step process of Define, Construct, and Maintain, Lytics helps you aggregate and organize customer data, create accurate customer profiles, and maintain the integrity of those profiles over time. With Lytics CDP identity resolution, you can make better business decisions, create more targeted marketing campaigns, and, ultimately, drive more revenue. For even more insight, check out our webinar, where we dive deep into our approach and capabilities.
This article was originally published on Lytics website. Click here to see the original blog post.