Managing the Anonymous to Authenticated Customer Experience

One of the hot topics we’re looking forward to discussing during this year’s Gartner Customer 360 Summit is how marketers can leverage customer data in its various forms for actionable personalization strategies. Data management platforms (DMPs) traditionally allow advertisers and publishers to better manage anonymous data for customer acquisition in various digital mediums like ad display, search, and video. Campaign management solutions traditionally rely on direct marketing in channels where the consumer is identified, like email, direct mail, text messages, and call centers. These approaches to customer data management have solved distinct parts of the “single view of the customer” equation for digital marketers, but need each other for a full high-definition view of the customer.

Effective management of anonymous and authenticated information together across the customer life cycle is the key to success. The distinction between anonymous and authenticated hinges on Personally Identifiable Information (PII), defined as data that can be used alone, in combination, or in context to identify, contact, or locate a specific individual. Today’s technology provides marketers with opportunities to integrate anonymous and authenticated data in ways never before seen while at the same time addressing the gray areas marketers face when it comes to responsible data management.

Uncle Ben of Spiderman fame said it best: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Today’s consumers are cautious, skeptical, and often hold cynical views of established companies and their motives, leaving it up to organizations to prove their worth through conscientious use of consumer information. But with so many scenarios falling into an ambiguous gray area, what can organizations do to put the minds of their customers at ease?

Bridge Anonymous and Authenticated Data for Content that Connects the Dots

There are many innovative use cases emerging that allow marketers to bridge anonymous and authenticated data to build comprehensive customer views—without violating regulatory or ethical guidelines in the process. These interactions create tremendous value for consumers by adding convenience, relevance, and context to interactions with your brand. Below are three use cases for your business to consider when combining anonymous and authenticated data.

1. Enhance display targeting with known profile data. Display ads are most cost-effective when they’re precisely targeted, and a brand’s current customers are among the best possible targets. Anonymizing identities of authenticated customers allows for sophisticated targeting of display ads, making sure that the highest-probability purchasers see the content most likely to lead them to purchase.

2. Use remarketing to reconnect with consumers. We’ve all filled up online shopping carts only to abandon them moments later. Instead of marketers chocking these moments up to missed opportunities, remarketing (or retargeting) takes a glass-half-full approach to abandoned sessions, viewing them as triggers to reconnect with customers by delivering appealing incentives and better offers. This needs to happen within a reasonable amount of time, often less than a day.

3. Create lookalike audiences that turn your best customers into thousands more. The process of anonymizing customer data gives marketers the opportunity to create lookalike audiences to target in acquisition channels. Such audiences are comprised of similar characteristics based on your best customers, making sure your marketing spend goes toward consumers most likely to make purchases from your brand.

Hold Up Your End of the Customer Bargain

With some of the privacy issues involving the use of anonymous and authenticated data, it can be easy for marketers to avoid questionable data altogether and stick with clearly defined usage of consumer data. This not only puts your company at a competitive disadvantage but also deprives your customers of valuable offers and services.

Sometimes we get so caught up in collecting data that we tend to forget why we’re collecting it in the first place. That’s why it’s crucial to ask yourself what it is that your organization is ultimately looking for when managing anonymous and authenticated customer data. Do you have a plan in place to clearly communicate your data collection intentions to your customers? Or what about soliciting PII in exchange for so-called valuable offers when in fact your brand is providing little value in return?

Make sure that your current digital marketing strategy clearly defines not only the anonymous and authenticated data you are collecting but also a detailed explanation of why you are collecting it. Great relationships are built on trust, and when customers can trust that you are collecting data in their best interest, you’ll be placing your customer/company relationship on a solid foundation.

The Building Blocks that form Lasting Customer Relationships

Anonymous and authenticated customer data can be challenging to integrate, which is why today’s marketers must deploy state-of-the-art tools and systems to manage both in efficient and responsible manners.

Bringing together anonymous and authenticated data to create excellent customer experiences is the essence of innovative marketing. But with great power comes great responsibility, making it crucial for marketers to use data they obtain in ways that generate value and purpose for consumers. Deploying these essential building blocks can give your organization the tools you need to make the best use of collected data while maintaining a transparent relationship with customers about the information you collect and why you are collecting it. It’s the best way for businesses to put consumer minds at ease while creating memorable experiences that define today’s best digital marketing campaigns.

To learn more, join us at Gartner 360, where our customer Kumar Vasantha, VP of B2B Technology at CBS Interactive will be speaking on Activating Cross-Channel Experiences.