Identity, intelligence and interactions – the three ingredients of customer-centric modern cross-channel marketing

This article is expanded upon in the recently released paper #6for16 – six views on the world of digital marketing for the year ahead – grab your copy today.

The way people interact with brands has changed beyond all recognition in the last few years. Search engines started to put the consumers in control of what they saw. Mobile devices gave them freedom of location and channel, and then social networks connected them. Anyone who has missed the growing complexity of this new world order must have been asleep for the past five years.

Trying to engage with your customers and prospects today consists of a multitude of aspects and the sheer range of options available can be intimidating to marketers looking to define their own strategies. I mean, where do you start?

The customer journey is flexible and fluid with consumers jumping across social networks, physical stores, websites and traditional media. People these days expect brands to keep up with them, tailor their offers to suit their individual needs and to treat them consistently, regardless of channel.

In order to meet the demands of the modern consumer – and to compete in a fast-paced digital world – we have drawn up what we consider the three key ingredients of effective and best practice marketing. Identity, Intelligence and Interactions. Get your head around these three concepts and you’ll be in a good position to build effective and future proof customer-centric marketing strategies

Before I go into any greater detail I have to remind readers that what follows is all about the customers. They are the heart and soul of everything we do in marketing. Whatever you, as a brand, decide to do, think, send or create, it has to be with the customer at the forefront of your mind and based on what you know about them.

Identity

Identity is the first step – you need to know who your customers are

Identity is being able to recognise your customer regardless of device or channel. This involves ensuring your data is good enough, developing cross-channel identity and device profiles and then being able to check that they are in fact who they say they are. Fraud prevention and customer identity go hand in hand.

Intelligence is learning more about your customers so that you know how to communicate with them effectively. This is what the ability to personalise customer experience relies on – a thorough understanding of individuals and customer types. Brands need to have the right data and they need to be capable of turning that data into actionable insights using strategic segmentation, precision audience creation or detailed customer personas.

Interactions is the final but most telling piece of the marketing puzzle. It’s the method and approach you use to actually communicate with people. As we know, modern customer journeys are fluid so brands need to drive intelligent interactions and engage with scale and flexibility. This requires brands to be able to integrate all their channels so that they can execute, manage and optimise seamlessly across email, web, mobile, social, display and print.

So, the above makes it sound really simple – when of course it is considerable more complicated than that. Each of the three ingredients is a complex challenge in its own right, with varied levels of sophistication and requirements. However, considering your marketing approach from the perspective of these three focuses allows you to break down the requirements into more manageable chunks.

It could be that you’re strong in one but weak in the other two or perhaps you’re strong in Identity and Interactions but are missing something in Intelligence? However your current capabilities compare when you considering your current approach with the three ingredients of Identity, Intelligence and Interactions it’s easier to understand where you are lacking and where you need to invest.

The three ingredients are reliant on each other for success. You need to be able to reliably identify customers in order to add to your knowledge of them and begin segmenting by preference. What’s more, how are you going to even hope to effectively communicate in an increasingly demanding world if you have the technology but not the insight to power it?

For more from Tom and to see what experts from across the industry feel will be the biggest themes of 2016 download our latest paper #6for16 – six views on the world of digital marketing for the year ahead

Experian Marketing Services is a leading global provider of consumer insights, targeting, data quality and cross-channel marketing. Through The Experian Marketing Suite’s  Identity Manager, Intelligence Manager and Interactions Manager, we help organisations intelligently interact with today’s empowered and hyper-connected consumers.

By helping marketers identify their best customers, find more of them, and then coordinate seamless and intelligent interactions across the most appropriate channels, Experian Marketing Services’ clients can deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.