Unlocking Business Potential with Identity Management
A Conversation with Joel Schiltz, CEO of DataDelivers
Identity management has become a crucial aspect of modern business operations. To delve deeper into this topic, we sat down with our CEO Joel Schiltz, who is a leading expert in data management and identity solutions. In this interview, Joel shares his insights into how Identity management unlocks the potential of customer data and leads to impactful marketing strategies that deliver better business outcomes. He also discusses the challenges companies face and the transformational impact of effective identity management.
Why is identity management essential for businesses today?
Joel: Having the ability to accurately recognize a customer across all systems and sources is the most basic assumption made at every step of the marketing process. It is most important aspect if you want to grow customer relationships and outpace your competition. Honestly, you really can’t understand your business without having a clear understanding of customer behaviors, and identity management is what enables that.
Yet, it is difficult to pull all of this data together, so most brands are working off imperfect datasets and still relying on instincts to make important decisions.
So, let’s dig a little deeper. You mentioned that identity is the next wave of sophistication in the business world. Could you explain how macro trends in the ecosystem are driving this evolution?
Joel: Absolutely. We’re witnessing a proliferation of data like never before. Companies are keen to monetize this data and gain a single view of their customers. However, achieving this is often more philosophical or academic than practical. The art lies in what’s possible vs what’s critical to accomplish the goals. There’s a belief that having this asset is valuable, but system integration remains a significant challenge. In addition to the technology, the experience of the developer plays a key role in determining what’s achievable and how to prioritize the amount of time and attention needed for an integration to be completed rather than perfect.
Different systems speak different languages, and finding common ground can be difficult. Data quality routines and capture techniques are essential, but most systems weren’t initially designed for this. They are getting better, but there’s still work to do. The value of identity management lies in facilitating good decisions that fundamentally change business strategies.
What are some key issues that companies face regarding identity management, and how can they address them?
Joel: One key issue is the lack of consistency and integrity in data. Identity management involves matching data points, which can be straightforward when common fields exist. However, linking records together, especially when dealing with variations in data fields across systems, can be problematic. Names, for instance, might have different elements in different systems which make it difficult to know if you have one customer or two.
This leads to two types of errors: Type 1, where you incorrectly associate two pieces of data, and Type 2, where you don’t connect data that should be linked. The balance of correcting these errors is also a function of experience and the art of managing identities. Records can be broken apart and errantly grouped together and need to be prevented from being rejoined in order to reduce further errors. All of these types of errors can impact how you place customers in the lifecycle and the messages you send them. This inconsistency needs to be corrected early on since identifies become living, breathing entities in your system.
There is also a challenge when utilizing second or third-party data sources to complete identities. This gap is considerable when using a CDP as they do not include directly integrated outside data. This is where identity management goes from an engineering exercise to a data and analytic solution.
DataDelivers excels at unifying data across systems to develop and maintain customer identities and profiles. We have more than 20 years of experience using scattered and fractured information to gain a single view of customer behavior and develop targeted marketing plans that drive traffic and sales for our clients.
Could you explain how identity management impacts business performance, especially in terms of data integration and customer engagement?
Joel: Identity management is crucial for business performance. It’s about correctly linking records to build a robust view of customers across various systems. More specifically it’s about building a single, correct view of customers across the various ways they engage with the brand. How many customers is one question but how many are loyal customers, lapsed customers, or at-risk customers is even more important.
CMOs should track customer portfolio size and what percentage of that portfolio falls into the most desirable customer segments. The migration of these customers from one segment to another, and back again, explains at a macro level how the business is truly performing. For sales to be up, there needs to be more customers spending more money. If sales are down, that means customers are spending less. Looking solely at revenue can mask underlying issues within the customer base. Less engaged customers may be pulling back while loyal customers are increasing their interaction with the brand.
It’s critical to understand if 50% of your business may come from first-time customers and see the clear path if these new customers are converted to engaged customers or become lapsed. While this may seem like basic blocking and tackling for developing strategy, it’s not effective if the customers are in potentially overlapping silos as opposed to a single source of truth for your entire customer base.
You mentioned that identity management changes the number of engaged and lapsed customer counts. How does this affect marketing strategies, and what should CMOs be aware of?
Joel: CMOs should be aware that identity management is a component of a well-designed system for deriving value from data. It clarifies the definition of a customer and gives visibility into their behaviors, which is critical for marketing and operations.
Identity management helps CMOs understand the true value of each customer. It changes customer engagement numbers and allows for more effective communication. However, it’s essential to stack probabilities correctly and apply identity management to calibrate data nuances.
Ultimately, it broadens the options for customer activations and drives value out of data, leading to more strategic and impactful marketing strategies.
Identity management is not just a technical endeavor; it’s a strategic tool for unlocking the potential of customer data and driving better business outcomes. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, understanding and implementing effective identity management will be essential for companies looking to thrive in the data-driven era.