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Fraud & Identity

Identity Resolution Basics: What Every Business Leader Needs to Know

May 11, 2022

10 minutes

Building your marketing strategy without incorporating identity resolution is like looking at an 8-bit image of your customer;it's not clear, and there's no way to gather enough valuable details about your consumer.

As privacy regulations are enforced and adapted, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), collecting consumer data becomes more complex.Companies need to improve the technologies they use to build their customer profiles.

This article covers the basics of identity resolution to help you understand how it can improve your business outcomes.

What Is Identity Resolution and How Does It Work?

You've probably heard marketing teams talk about building a "360 degree," "unified," or "single view" of your customer's profile. Building this holistic view of your customer starts with integrating an identity resolution solution.

Identity resolution is a process where personal identifiers or attributes, such as IP addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and device IDs, are matched across users' devices and touchpoints, and then placed in a single record (also called an identity graph).

This practice allows teams to tailor their messaging to each customer, enhancing their overall experience.

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Not only does identity resolution technology filter through consumers' touchpoints, but it also sorts through the data, removes duplicate information, and, most importantly, creates a comprehensive user profile compliant with consumer privacy regulations.

There’s many ways a  unified user profile can help you. Let's explore the benefits and challenges associated with identity resolution.

The Powerful Benefits (and Challenges) of Identity Resolution

Now that you know what identity resolution is, you need to understand how this process can help your business.

Adopting an identity solution helps your teams connect the dots between customer data and their marketing campaigns.

1. Build a Comprehensive View of Your Customers

Marketing terms benefit from having access to unified customer profiles, but finding accurate and comprehensive data can be challenging.

This process becomes even more difficult when you factor in all the available options for consumers to digitally access your products or services, and how they interact with those different technologies.

Let's imagine a scenario where a potential customer (Alex) uses their smartphone to access your online clothing store. They browse a few items and maybe even put something in their cart. Something comes up, and they exit your site without checking out or creating a customer profile. 

Without a solid identity resolution process in place, your system will collect this event and record it as an anonymous exit.

Later, Alex logs back on to your site via their laptop, searches for the items they placed in their cart earlier, creates a user profile, and checks out. Your system will log this event in as a sale and tie it to a specific customer account, creating a new record. 

However, your system will not connect Alex's previous visit on their smartphone to the successful sale on the laptop.

Alex's browsing habits and experience on the initial visit will not be linked to their profile, and you will miss out on critical consumer data needed to create a 360-degree view of the customer journey.

Identity resolution has the power to identify and merge customer data that would often go overlooked or seen as separate events, giving you a clear and complete picture of your customer's journey.

2. Deliver Targeted Messaging Without Compromising Privacy and Security

There's a fine line between delivering personalized experiences and invading a customer's privacy. We've all joked that our phones listen to our conversations and then advertise the products or services we discussed.

But, if that actually happens, it violates customer trust. 

As a result, more regulations have been put into place to secure consumers' privacy by placing restrictions on data collection methods and technologies.

At the same time, consumers expect businesses to cleverly utilize information to anticipate their needs through every step of their customer journey.

Identity resolution platforms understand and adapt to the evolving regulations surrounding data security, giving you access to clean, unified data.

Your marketing teams can confidently use this information to deliver customized user experiences and build targeted campaigns to enhance conversions and boost your sales.

Let's revisit Alex's journey. If you had an identity solution in place, you would have a clearer picture of their  cross-device/platform behavior to bring them back in for another purchase. 

Think of the "We think you might like…" messages you've received based on previous purchases. These notifications often come across as thoughtful versus intrusive, and help build trust between you and your customers.

3. Lower the Cost of Customer Acquisition

Marketers spend a great deal of their budget trying to build campaigns around disconnected customer records that only reveal a fraction of their customers’ identity instead of examining a comprehensive consumer journey.

As a result, their attempts at personalized campaigns often yield disjointed conversions and sales. And, it's not their fault. Marketing teams don't specialize in customer identity management.

Identity resolution can solve this problem by giving your teams access to accurate data they can use to understand your customer's habits and what aspects of your business drive revenue.

With this information, marketing teams can evaluate which touchpoints enhanced a customer's or prospect's experience with your product or service, covering every step of the way - from initial interactions to final purchases.

For example, suppose your marketing team developed two campaigns for new products and assessed that one campaign resonated with a particular persona much more than  another persona. Based on this customer journey data, they can generate revenue forecasts, build realistic budgets, and create accurate attribution models.

This means you get to direct your spending on higher-value prospects to boost your ROI and revenue.

Meet Your Identity Resolution Partner

Business leaders must understand identity resolution and invest in the resources that will help them achieve the elusive "single view" of their customers as consumer data and privacy laws continue to evolve.

Your identity resolution tool is only as good as your data.

Businesses can invest in a B2B data provider, such as People Data Labs (PDL), to solve this problem and power their identity resolution via clean, compliantly sourced data, reducing false positives.

With access to over 150 identifiers, PDL’s customer profiles are full of rich and relevant information.

People Data Labs guarantees that you receive enhanced and compliant consumer datasets, allowing you to focus on developing targeting content for your target audience with confidence.

For more information about maximizing your ROI, enriching your customer profiles with complaint data, using data in your marketing research, and providing a seamless user experience to your user base, reach out to People Data Labs and unlock the potential you're missing. Or, try a free trial of our API key to get started right away.

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PDL Team

Founded in 2015 by Henry Nevue and Sean Thorne, People Data Labs helps thousands of engineering, data science, product, and other technical teams to build compliant, innovative, people data based software solutions. Our sole focus is on building the best data available by integrating thousands of compliantly-sourced datasets into a single, developer-friendly source of truth.