Thankfully for marketers, trying to engage large demographics with one-size-fits-all messaging is becoming a distant memory. Digital business opens up direct one-to-one avenues of connection. It's made our jobs imminently more interesting and, at the same time, more challenging. Personalized, relevant interaction creates opportunities to win and retain customers in ways that have never been possible before. It also requires that we know our customers individually.
Digital personalization depends on accurate customer identity data collected and used in real time across multiple engagement points. That's why identity and access management is no longer only within the purview of the IT team. It's now within the marketer's wheelhouse too.
CMOs and their teams are recognizing that customer identities play a central role in their marketing strategies, and many are exploring best practices for managing and securing customer data. If you're considering a customer identity and access management (CIAM) solution to support your marketing initiatives, here are three important things to know:
1. It's all about the view
A single view of your customer is the key to digital customer engagement. Yet, the vast array of new apps, websites and connected devices creates data silos, a problem that once only plagued the IT department. Now data silos are also a marketing problem. They make achieving a single view difficult, if not impossible. Not only is this frustrating for marketing teams trying to gain an in-depth understanding of their audience, but it also frustrates customers. When a customer must input their information in one place, such as a website, but then re-enter it when they're using the mobile app, they're more likely to abandon shopping carts or go to a competitor. All that effort and money you put into attracting them is woefully lost.
Identity and access management platforms that aggregate customer data across departments and touchpoints into one comprehensive customer profile help solve these challenges. A single customer view allows you to truly know who your customers are and what they want or need. It also enables seamless customer experiences in omnichannel environments. Customers are able to access the apps, data and services they need securely and consistently no matter what device or channel they're using. This frictionless experience becomes part of your brand's identity.
2. Security is your problem too
When an organization becomes the victim of a data breach, the costs can be staggering. Ponemon Institute says the average cost of a breach was $4 million in 2016. The obvious source of these costs are legal fees and damages. However, there is a hidden cost that is not as easy to calculate--the cost of lost brand affinity and the negative impact on business growth. Data breaches have become such a common problem, customers now consider data security a factor in overall customer satisfaction ratings. A breach can negate many of the previous investments a company has made in improving customer acquisition and brand presence, and the pipeline for new customers frighteningly narrows. It can take years to recover, and sadly some businesses never do.
In today's cloud and mobile environments where data must be protected far beyond the firewall, security is increasingly complex. Ninety one percent of IT decision makers say that security is critical to digital business success according to a recent survey on the State of Digital Transformation. This makes it an important consideration for the marketing teams vested in digital initiatives. When an organization implements identity security best practices that protect data anywhere it resides and is used, marketing teams can confidently leverage the information to drive better digital customer experiences.
Unlike other solutions that secure the perimeter, identity and access management solutions enable security controls at the data level. Features like end-to-end data encryption, centralized data management and fine-grain data access governance help protect identity data while enabling marketing teams to use the data to improve engagement.
3. There's a right way to share
The marketing ecosystem is growing. Third party service providers such as email marketing services, analytics tools and loyalty programs are part of most marketing teams' strategic portfolios, and many companies are adding more externally sourced programs to their digital marketing mix. Sharing data is a natural part of arming these outside teams with the tools they need to get the job done, but it also opens up security vulnerabilities and could pave the way for data privacy violations.
According to an Accenture survey, 73 percent of consumers prefer to do business with companies that use their data for their benefit and convenience. Customers understand that you'll share their data, and they're open to sharing it as long as they receive relevant information, products and services in return. They also expect companies to protect their information, particularly as it is shared with third parties.
A strong customer identity and access management solution supports role-based data access that limits the type of data a third party can view or use. For example, an email marketing provider can only see customer names and email addresses instead of the full identity profile that includes payment card information. As the regulatory landscape becomes more complex, the ability to enforce strict data sharing controls across multiple vendors, platforms and channels is crucial for compliance as well as inspiring customer loyalty through responsible data stewardship.
Before now, identity and access management has been almost exclusively an IT priority as technology pros manage employee and partner identities and access to systems and apps. As digital business has upped the ante for customer engagement, customer identity and access management has become a growing marketing priority. Customer identity is the key that unlocks one-to-one interactions.
Gartner states that CMO spending on technology now rivals CIO spending, and customer identity is a perfect example of the dynamics behind this trend. The more CMOs know about identity and access management and the technologies developed to address its complexities, the better they will be at helping IT implement a solution that not only secures customer data but improves the customer experience to drive revenue growth.