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Getting to Know Your Customer One Step at a Time: Progressive Identity

The means for creating a positive customer experience have changed substantially in the last five years, and they are likely to change more rapidly in the future.

Let’s throw out those hackneyed ideas of product branding. Get rid of that “Mad Men” advertising concept from the last century.

Those pitches were aimed at print readers and broadcast audiences. Companies seeking data might as well have been marketing by carrier pigeon. Analytics – and any revisions growing out of that data – had to wait months for sales results before assessing and refining an approach.

Today’s customer experience is measured in nanoseconds. A click. A swipe. A decline or a purchase. All these actions tell us immediately about a product’s potential customer and allow for rapid revisions in the sales and marketing approach if the first attempt is not positive.

I talked about all of this when I gave a presentation at the KuppingerCole Consumer Identity Summit in Paris, and reflected on the wealth of customer data we have available today. I also talked about how companies are not capitalizing on that data.

These days, a customer journey begins when a user engages with your website. Cookies can play a part in this, but smart marketers want to  gain their customers’ trust and get beyond the limits of ISP identity.

We do this by creating what I call the Progressive Identity Flow.

Use product reviews, tips, recipes, special offers, white papers or other means to encourage customers to engage more deeply with your company through a step-by-step process. This data is the start of a special relationship that goes beyond conventional advertising and becomes advice from a trusted friend.

Barilla, the consumer products company specializing in pasta and tomato sauce, is one example of a business that does a nice job of meeting, greeting and converting customers.

Its approach is like a series of dates where you get to know someone better and better over time. First, it asks for your email address, hoping to create a bidirectional relationship.

Then, through its marketing automation, it logs whether you opened the email, followed the link or bought a product featured in the email. If you haven’t opened the email, Barilla backs off for a respectful period, then asks for another date.

If you follow the links and create an account, Barilla becomes an encouraged suitor and offers to recognize your other devices and invites you to log in through social media.

This method of gradual consumer participation and consent is the bedrock of marketing in the future, especially with the pro-consumer European Union’s new General Data Privacy Regulation, which gives consumers enhanced control over their data privacy when it takes effect in May 2018.

The key in the Barilla approach is that it gives consumers choices through opt-ins. And this is the future of advertising and product marketing.

So how does this mutually benefit companies and consumers?

Companies get deeper insight into willingly shared consumer preferences, and consumers enjoy an enhanced, comfortable experience in their buying decisions. It’s like knowing in advance that your date likes chocolate ice cream or romantic comedy films.

By Rooly Eliezerov

Meet us at

Consumer Identity World USA
Seattle, USA

September 12 - 13, 2017
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Consumer Identity World USA, September 12-13, 2017, Seattle