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Three Key Benefits of Solving the Customer Profile Mystery

It’s a high-tech whodunnit. Customers are disappearing and you, the modern-day marketer, are the detective. The C-suite wants answers and wants them quickly. So, you put on your detective cap, pick up your magnifying glass and get to work.

The Scene of the Crime: The Siloed Marketing Technology Stack

You start with the basic question: “Who are our customers?”

To find out, you visit the last places the customers were seen: your CRM and marketing databases. The results are horrifying. Basic attributes such as name, address, phone number email address and gender are missing. Insightful attributes such as channel preferences, communication frequency preferences, likes and interests? They are mostly blank fields. Worst of all: it’s difficult to map the consent for receiving marketing communications back to individuals.

So, you expand your search. Consent records, you learn, are stored in the enterprise’s email service provider. Likes and preferences? That’s handled by the personalization and recommendation engine. System data such as login timestamps and location data reside in separate customer engagement solutions. Order histories are located in the e-commerce solution.

After investigating all of the technologies in your customer experience tech stack, you realize the horrible truth: your enterprise is losing market share because the full view of its customers is scattered in pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. As a result, there’s no ability to create a single view of the truth.

Assembling the Clues into Unified Customer Profiles

To compete in today’s customer-first market, you must gain the full view of the customer. And, to unlock your business’s true potential, you realize the need for a customer-centric data architecture.

It starts with how you interact and guide the customer journey. This means rethinking the way your enterprise collects, stores, tracks and unlocks the true value of customer data. In the past, customer data became siloed as the business added point solutions to its digital ecosystem. When the business grew, the ecosystem grew, too, and those silos became harder to access, track and manage.

This tangled technology crime scene hides opportunities and puts up real barriers to digital experience innovation, impacting your ability to truly know your customers.

Assembling all of a customer’s data in a unified profile solves this challenge. The profile becomes the single source of truth for the customer’s identity, registration, custom and system data.

Common customer profile data

Data Type




First-party, social media registration (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on) and Federated Identity

First name, last name, email, gender, location, likes, interests, relationships, education


Traditional and social registration, preference screensets, opt-in forms

Consent for terms of service, privacy policies, cookies and marketing communications; preference for marketing communication frequency and channel


CRM, ESP and other systems of record in the tech stack

Location, timestamps, identity source


Website and mobile applications, preference screensets and opt-in forms

Brand marketing preferences, content views, video views, product registration, comments, reviews and shares

With these kind of attributes consolidated and centralized, your enterprise can more easily and accurately orchestrate the full profile – or specific attributes – to and from downstream applications and services. This bidirectional synchronization enforces accurate, first-party data across all of your touchpoints.

Unified profiles can also be more easily governed during the entire customer lifecycle. It’s much easier to update and maintain one record, including changes to consent or identity data, compared to updating multiple records in several systems. In other words, it allows you to “change once, and update everywhere.”

Mystery Solved: The Benefits to Your Business

Gaining a full view of your customers by collecting and managing their data in unified profiles unlocks three key benefits.

More Personalized, Relevant Experiences

While every enterprise strives to earn the trust of its customers, creating and maintaining personalized, one-to-one relationships with them at scale is a tall order. To accurately and successfully predict customer choices and behaviors, businesses are increasingly turning to machine learning powered by artificial intelligence.

While these technologies are powerful, the results they generate are only as good as the data quality fed into them, harkening back to the old adage of “garbage in – garbage out.”

With unified customer profiles, complete customer data sets, including the customer’s consent to process his or her data in this way, are more easily transformed into formats recognized by machine learning algorithms. This elevates the predictive insights they can produce. Your recommendations will be more accurate and your Web site content can be customized in real time to individual customers’ interests – at scale.

More Granular Segmentation and Cross-Selling Opportunities

Through these unified profiles, you’ll know more about customers’ demographic data, likes and preferences. You’ll also understand what channels they respond most favorably to and what brands and properties they frequent and prefer.

For instance, a retail customer’s profile might contain, among many other things, his or her:

  • Favorite brands
  • Clothing and shoe sizes
  • Preferred colors
  • Popular store locations
  • Wishlists and registries
  • Loyalty program details
  • Content libraries
  • Memberships and subscriptions
  • Service requests
  • Social engagement attributes: ratings, reviews, comments, friends, followers, and so on

With a richer portrait of the customer, your brand can deliver more relevant content and promotions to more-accurate segments. It also can provide deep insights into opportunities for other brands in the portfolio to cross-sell.

Better Protection from Regulatory Risk

Consumer  privacy and data protection laws, including GDPR, have changed the ground rules for digital marketing around the globe. Consent, which used to be an afterthought for many marketers, is now a major factor that determines the possible size and scope of marketing campaigns.

With a unified customer profile, centrally governed and orchestrated across the technology stack, it’s finally possible to manage consumers’ profiles, preferences and consent settings throughout the entire customer journey. This means your business will have greater certainty the people who receive marketing communications are those who are interested in (and more importantly opted in to receive) your products and services.

From a regulatory risk standpoint, unified profiles better protect the business because consent and preference data won’t be spread across the organization. Instead, your enterprise gains a central repository for all of your customers’ consent and preference data, which improves your ability to enforce their wishes across touchpoints. Since excessive consumer complaints are a sure way to draw the attention of regulators, honoring customers’ preferences and consent settings at every engagement is vital. It also means you can holistically address the requirements of an increasing number of privacy and data protection regulations across the globe from a central data store.

Lastly, regulations like the GDPR are requiring businesses to address customer data access rights. These requirements give customers full transparency into the data you collect and complete  control over their personal data, including the right to rectify information. Any changes made by customers are reflected in their profiles. This keeps identity data fresh as names, email addresses, physical addresses and phone numbers change.

Learn to Solve the Privacy and Personalization Caper

In our upcoming webinar, Forrester Principal Analyst Fatemeh Khatibloo explores how intelligent enterprises are balancing data privacy with innovative personalization to deliver market-leading digital experiences. Don’t miss this insightful discussion!

Register now!

By Ratul Shah

Gigya has updated its Privacy Policy as Gigya, Inc. has been acquired by SAP America, Inc. and Gigya has updated the information regarding how we collect and use your Personal Data. You can see the updated Privacy Policy here.