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Cross-channel identity is hard! Here's how to conquer it

Author: Tiffany Staples


Consumer interaction isn’t tied to a single experience. Most consumers don’t interact with your brand once and immediately purchase. It’s a complex web of various touchpoints, channels, and devices. As a result, businesses face the challenge of accurately identifying and engaging with individuals across these channels, a task known as cross-channel identity management.

Effectively connecting consumer data to deliver personalized experiences across channels and devices can significantly impact the digital experience. An impact that reaches to overall brand satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately, the overall success of the business.

Why cross-channel identity is so challenging:

One of the key hurdles in cross-channel identity management is fragmented consumer data. Consumers often use different email addresses, usernames, or social media profiles across various channels, making it difficult for brands to link these identities together accurately. Factor in time between interactions, and the challenge grows. Consumers also use various devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, further complicating the task of establishing a unified digital identity across channels.

Siloed data is a guaranteed challenge for brands looking to solve for cross-channel identity. Customer information is often scattered across different systems and departments, thwarting all chances of consolidating data into a single customer view. Privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA, and privacy-forward browsers and technology like Apple iOS, have also added to the segmentation. From blocking third-party cookies to expiring data after seven days, ongoing industry changes create many roadblocks to building cross-channel identity – at least for traditional data providers.

Despite these challenges, the consumer journey is omni-channel, a mix of touchpoints across various channels. It’s no longer linear, but consumers still expect seamless experiences as they transition from one channel to another. They demand consistent and personalized interactions throughout their entire journey and across their entire lifespan as a consumer, no matter which device or channel they’re interacting with. Optimizing these dynamic consumer journeys requires businesses to have a real-time understanding of consumer identity and preference, across devices, channels, and domains.

How to overcome cross-channel identity challenges:

Adopt a consumer-centric approach: By understanding the overall consumer journey, including their needs, preferences, and behaviors over time, businesses can align their efforts to provide a seamless experience across channels. From capturing and centralizing consumer data, to integrating disjointed systems and implementing robust identity resolution processes, comprehensive strategies that focus on personalizing the consumer experience make cross-channel identity management more efficient and impactful.

Collaboration within the organization: Collaboration is essential to overcome the challenges associated with cross-channel identity management. By sharing data securely, business units can enhance their understanding of consumer identities across channel and improve the accuracy of consumer profiles. Ensuring brands have a timely solution (think live-time, not just real-time) for connecting data across systems and business units is vital to success in cross-channel identity.

Employ top-tier technology with advanced solutions: Tools like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and big data analytics can capture and analyze vast amounts of consumer data, identify patterns, and generate insight to create accurate consumer profiles across channels. Leveraging these technologies enhances consumer identity and enables more effective personalization, while simplifying cross-channel identity management ten-fold.

Cross-channel identity management is undeniably a complex undertaking for brands, especially when battling fragmented consumer data, data silos, privacy concerns, and dynamic consumer journeys. However, leveraging consumer-centric strategies, collaborating between business units, and deploying the right tech can make cross-channel identity management more manageable and amplify efficiency. By empowering organizations with accurate, live-time consumer insights, brands can successfully deliver exceptional cross-channel experiences using the full potential of their consumer data.

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