In a recent Gigya webinar, I explored the link between contextual marketing and customer identity strategy with Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Joe Stanhope. During the presentation, Joe gave some serious praise to customer identity solutions.
“I believe, and Forrester believes, that identity resolution is a strategic imperative for brands,” Joe said. “If our ability to target customers, to personalize for customers, to engage with customers, to understand our customers, is all based on identity, then fundamentally identity resolution is probably the most strategic capability marketers can develop to create great customer relationships.”
He then listed customer identity resolution as one of the top five marketing technologies a brand should include in its tech stack.
He made these comments as we explored the ways customer identity strategy can drive contextual marketing.
Joe started by explaining why contextual marketing is so important for today’s businesses. Much more than, “the right message to the right person at the right time,” this type of marketing approach uses data-driven technologies to understand the full context of a customer – behavioral attributes, his or her current location, what the customer uses and more – to decipher the right way to engage.
“[Contextual marketing] is really important in understanding the precise moment your customer is in,” Joe said. And when you have this context, you can change the conversation … from marketer-driven to customer-driven.”
Next, we laid out some of the challenges businesses face in achieving contextual marketing success. I described the challenge of consumer trust. Statistics show a majority of consumers don’t trust brands with their personal data. On the other hand, statistics also show that consumers are willing to share their data with businesses if:
1) They feel the business is being transparent in how they will use the data; and
2) They feel in control of what data is shared and for what purposes.
In addition to strengthening contextual marketing efforts, these points are especially important given the upcoming enforcement of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) starting in May 2018. The tough new laws will affect any business with EU customers and emphasize the need for businesses to be transparent and to put customers in control of their data even more.
Both Joe and I agreed transparency is a core tenet of an effective customer identity strategy. He said it’s critical to, “share [with customers] why things are happening…, to give them the ability to indicate their preferences and to be really in-tune with how your engagements will be perceived at an emotional level.”
I added that there is a fundamental question a business needs to ask if it’s striving for more transparency and addressing compliance with GDPR and other data privacy laws: “How do you handle consent? How are you actually capturing the consent of the user as they’re progressing through the customer journey?… That consent may seem simple, but it’s actually quite complex.”
The complexities arise from the moment a potential customer visits your website for the first time (in the form of the initial cookie consent) and build throughout their engagement with your business. Defining a comprehensive strategy – with customer identity at its core – to address customer preferences and consent is vital for effective data privacy practices and contextual marketing success.
These are just some highlights of an information-packed webinar. We also covered:
- Use cases and best practices for developing customer identity-powered contextual marketing.
- Why customer identity strategy works best when it’s considered as a progressive relationship between business and customers.
- How customer identity strategy leads to real-world business benefits such as coordinated customer experiences, deeper customer insights and better data governance.
The entire webinar is available here: How Customer Identity Drives Cutting-Edge Contextual Marketing.
It’s worth watching if you’re interested in helping your business employ cutting-edge marketing practices that are compliant with privacy laws.
By Rashmi Vittal