Today’s consumers are more connected than ever, and they are using a number of devices to search for information and make purchases. According to a Nielsen report, an average U.S. consumer owns and uses four different devices to access and consume content.
The diverse array of digital devices available today means that marketers must find more effective ways to track and manage this increasingly complex buyer journey, in order to provide a truly seamless, omni-channel experience to their target consumers.
In order to do so, marketers need to be able to identify and stitch together different sources of consumer data across all touch points with their brand, even as consumers change from one device or channel to another.
Marketing Has A Memory Loss Problem
The challenge with many of today’s marketing technologies is that data stitching isn’t available or sophisticated enough to do it well. With conventional data collection, consumers are identified using cookies, which are small pieces of data stored on their computers by the web browser they’re using.
Cookies are used to store information specific to an individual user or website, such as a user’s identification or browsing activity. An identification system that is based on cookies, on the other hand, automatically assigns an ID to a device, regardless of who the user is.
What this means is that, for example, when a consumer uses two different devices to visit a website, they are identified as two different people. What’s worse, when the consumer erases their cookies or uses a different browser, they become a new, anonymous user, even if they’re using the same device.
This “memory loss” in cross-device identity, according to the CEO of the customer data platform Ensighten, Josh Manion, prevents marketers from developing a deeper understanding of consumer behaviors and interactions to provide more relevant content and experiences that engage and convert.
The Solution To Marketing Amnesia
So what can marketers do to solve this “memory loss” problem? According to Manion, marketers need to find a customer data platform that, at the very minimum, can achieve both accuracy and scale in data collection and analysis, while meeting privacy requirements, across all consumer devices and digital channels.
These customer insights are the foundation needed to create a single, holistic view of the consumer’s behaviors, interactions and preferences across all touch points, devices and channels, enabling your brand to deliver highly relevant content and experience that engages consumers and converts.
Here’s what such customer data platform looks like in action:
- Data Collection
To deliver a universal view of the customer’s buyer journey, the solution needs to be able to collect and consolidate both first-party and third-party data from your brand’s owned digital properties and from marketing vendors and aggregators, respectively.
- Persistent Customer Profile Development
Once consumer data is collected, the next step is merging the information to create persistent customer profiles as well as anonymous customer profiles. Because these customer profiles are saved on a server, each profile created has a unique history that can be updated over time.
This is what makes persistent customer profiles so beneficial. According to Manion, persistent customer profiles remain intact and accurate to a consumer, as long as the platform triggers some form of profile stitching.
- Profile Stitching
The data stitching of a customer profile requires using common identifiers, such as customer IDs or email addresses, to combine and reconcile all known profiles across every device.
Deterministic tracking is one of the most common approaches to profile stitching. What it does is that when a consumer takes action, be it making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter, profile stitching is triggered and that action is matched against an existing set of customer data. Groups of profiles of this individual consumer are then merged to form a holistic customer view.
- Profile Distribution
The attributes and insights into a consumer’s behaviors and preferences stored within their profiles are then used to engage them during a customer interaction. And this goes for both on-site and off-site digital marketing activities, such as marketing campaigns, web pages and digital ads.
- Profile Enrichment
To create the best possible 360-degree profile of a customer, you’ll want to enrich the profile by integrating your offline data since this information provides valuable historic insights into the customer’s past behaviors and preferences.
Together, these enriched profiles can be leveraged across your marketing technology stack to deliver relevant, personalized content and experiences at every touch point and interaction with your brand, so you can more effectively engage your target customers and convert.
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