From the impact of privacy legislation to uncertainty around the fate of cookies and the growing importance of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, advertisers face many unknowns about the future of marketing. But one thing remains clear: Identity resolution—the ability to recognize and understand customers across channels and devices and to tailor customer engagements to target audiences—is more important than ever.
Identity is nothing new, but it has quickly become the critical ingredient in delivering exceptional, personalized customer experiences, especially as the offline and digital worlds collide and brands navigate new channels, devices and touchpoints.
Despite the growing consensus that identity is fundamental to an organization’s marketing success and should be a business priority in 2020, only 15.3 percent of organizations are able to consistently and accurately identify their audience, impeding the ability to reach their consumers with the relevant messages and marketing they expect.1
Why is identity such a challenge for businesses? And what’s the solution?
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to recognizing customers. Rather, a brand’s ability to focus and build lasting relationships with consumers requires leveraging several identity solutions tailored to the unique needs of the organization, while adopting a holistic approach that optimizes reach and precision.
Here are four rules marketers should follow to get customer experience right.
First, get the data right
On average, 30 percent of a brand’s first-party identity data assets will become obsolete each year, according to Ascend2.2 Like going to the dentist for a cleaning, using hygiene services that cleanse, standardize and enhance consumer contact data (email addresses, phone numbers, names and postal addresses) on an annual basis is imperative. Low-quality data can often lead to a poor experience across touchpoints, which can frustrate and alienate even the most loyal customers. Identity can only be as good as the quality of data on which it relies, and accurate data is intrinsic to any successful engagement with customers.
Get Identity right across channels
The quality of data is important, and the volume is important, as well. In today’s marketing ecosystem, visibility into consumers’ digital and online interactions is critical. First-party private enterprise graphs can combine digital and offline first-party data with additional third-party insights to create a unified view of the consumer. This can empower marketers to maintain consumers’ identity across touchpoints, devices, channels and identity relationships to drive an optimal customer experience that’s tailored to the unique perspective of the brand.
Get experiences right
Identity is an ongoing process—one that requires consistent oversight and optimization to maintain evolving identity profiles, enable true engagement with your brand and balance the competing factors of precision versus reach. Through a comprehensive identity management solution that strategically layers AI and machine learning into its process, brands can master identity across their martech and ad tech ecosystem to deliver exceptional experiences for customers and prospects alike.
Get compliance right
Ethically identifying and connecting with consumers is a top priority for global brands. To meet compliance requirements for consumer access and to build consumer trust, brands need assurance that consumers are who they say they are—separate from marketing activities. Prioritizing such capabilities is essential to meeting, and ideally exceeding, the requirements established by the recent California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other emerging consumer privacy regulations, to give consumers control over their personal data.
Identity is the key to creating a singular customer view across channels, devices and touchpoints, in addition to guiding a superior customer journey. These four rules provide marketers a roadmap to building an enterprise identity solution that’s designed to meet the expectations of consumers today and in the future.
 Source: Know Your Audience: The Evolution of Identity in a Consumer-Centric Marketplace. A Winterberry Group Report, August 2018.
 Source: Marketing Data Quality Trends Survey Summary Report.