Nowadays, digital users interact with companies in a variety of different ways: they use different contact channels and numerous devices. In fact, around 3 different devices per person are used in Germany today. At the same time, customers expect cross-channel, personalized and coordinated communication, otherwise users will end their online activities.
Today’s Digital Marketing Managers must make relevant choices from approximately 3,500 digital solutions and integrate these into their technology stack in order to create a comprehensive user experience.
Meanwhile, marketing automation solutions such as the Adobe Marketing Cloud, IBM Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and SAP hybris Marketing Automation have established themselves in as effective cross-channel digital marketing technologies. According to estimates, there are around 150 thousand installations worldwide that enable companies to perform personalized and cross-channel communication from a single source and within an integrated solution.
However, the establishment of a comprehensive and personalized user experience goes beyond digital marketing and marketing automation. Among other requirements, an effective digital marketing implementation must fully integrate every element: the eShop, recommendation engines and testing solutions, as well as connected devices.
Companies that succeed in offering their customers this comprehensive user experience gain competitive advantages but also face challenges: How can a user be identified across devices and touch points?
The “login” is really the only way to identify a digital user in a sufficiently clear manner in the context of a Customer Identity. Other ways of tracking — based on cookies or tags — have proven unsuitable for cross-device identification and as a basis for building a comprehensive user experience.
Nevertheless, the individual Customer Identity is more than just an email address with a full name: ideally, it is an image of the individual personality of a user, whose characteristics – in the form of first party data – can be collected, stored and used transparently in different ways (with the consent of the user of course) to personalize the user experience.
Even though customer relationships are increasingly digital in nature today, consumers still want to maintain close relationships with their favorite brands. The active exchange of “likes,” “comments” and “reviews” on a variety of company portals clearly shows this. At the same time, users increasingly reject anonymous cookie-based data collection, because the advertising based on it is often considered bothersome and inappropriate. For this reason, users are becoming more willing to provide personal information in exchange for a better user experience or better service.
At the same time, the concept of customer identity will soon be altered again by the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, and the issue of compliance with this new regulation will be on most executives’ agendas by 2017 at the latest. It will require that all companies that are active digitally in Europe give all users sovereignty over the personal data that has been collected from them by organizations, so that every user can change or even delete his or her personal data. The Green Book “Digital Platforms” published by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in May 2016, in which Customer Identity Management for Consumers is mentioned for the first time, provides initial instructions for achieving compliance with the GDPR.
A comprehensive digital user experience may include multiple elements, including online web and mobile shops, recommendation engines, DMP and CRM platforms, marketing automation solutions and even customer data warehouses. Each of these front-end and marketing solutions works with a digital identity or even a comprehensive user profile. However, none of the solutions are designed specifically to:
- Increase online registrations and logins, and store millions of customer identities
- Adapt the characteristics and data surrounding the customer identity in an agile manner to suit marketing requirements
- Store data from social media networks in compliance with their current terms of service (TOS)
- Store customer identities in accordance with the respective local data protection rules (for instance, Russian user data must be stored in Russia)
- Synchronize customer identities with other systems in real time or batch mode
Integrating every system in the stack with custom code to leverage customer identity data is difficult and not recommended for cost and time-to-market reasons. Therefore, it makes good sense to employ a dedicated customer identity and access management (CIAM) solution to act as the end-to-end consumer identity layer in your stack.
With customer identity at the center of your digital infrastructure, a seamless, cross-channel user experience can now be achieved across platforms and devices.
For one, CIAM represents the front door for every website or mobile app in your portfolios, connecting you to your customers and storing all user profile data centrally in a consent-based manner to keep your business in compliance with locally applicable data protection regulations. These user profiles can progressively broaden over the entire customer lifecycle to include, for example, data from social network profiles or additional information gathered over time from contextually triggered fields.
Data contained in user profiles can now be integrated across your entire digital infrastructure in real time or in batch mode. This enables your CMS or eCommerce platform to immediately personalize the front- end user experience, allowing, for example, a fashion company to present the appropriate clothing based on gender, age or even social attributes such as likes or shares. Additionally, your DMP platform can utilize data for building premium audiences anonymously, and your marketing automation system can tap individual customer preferences for use in more dynamic newsletters.
Gigya has established partnerships with leading digital marketing vendors such as SAP hybris in order to offer these benefits to our joint customers, and offers comprehensive, pre-built integrations with the SAP hybris Commerce and SAP hybris Marketing solutions.
So what can you expect from these integrations? Increased registration rates, higher onsite engagement, better targeting, higher repeat purchase rates and conversion rates, and improved customer loyalty. Meanwhile, identity data silos are broken down, the complexity of data connections is minimized, and building a seamless and trustworthy user experience is made easier.
Visit us at the SAP hybris booth in hall 6, booth D-011 at DMEXCO in Germany. We look forward to meeting you!
By David Kerin