Identity Management: the Future of Marketing

Identity management involves reconciling what you know about an individual with real-time behavioral data, specifically actions that signal purchasing intent. 

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According to Google, 90% of owners of multiple devices switch between screens to complete tasks. So, the importance of being able to accurately identify consumers across devices and marketing channels – or identity resolution – cannot be overstated. This is especially true in industries like insurance, where shopping journeys typically involve extensive research and comparison shopping over time.  

There’s a high cost to unidentified consumers. Failing to invest in identity resolution leads to canned messaging, wasted marketing spending and lost opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell existing customers.

Today’s shoppers demand personalization. The logical next step to identity resolution, then, is using the additional data that comes with it to improve the customer experience in a process called identity management. 

Identity and Experience

Identity management involves reconciling what you know about an individual – static demographic information, such as income, as well as personal attributes like existing vehicle and homeownership – with real-time behavioral data, specifically actions that signal purchasing intent and tell marketers and agents it’s the right time to engage. 

This sort of data is useful for nurturing both prospective and existing customers. Consider an auto policyholder. Are they homeowners? Do they have children in the household who will be driving soon? Do they also own boats, motorcycles or second homes? Does their recent online shopping behavior indicate any of these attributes have recently changed?  

In essence, identity management centers on knowing who a consumer is as well as what they’re in search of and putting that knowledge to work. While this may seem obvious, for every $92 spent on acquiring customers, on average, only $1 is spent on converting them. Investing resources in lead nurturing and personalized messaging can be a significant differentiator. 

See also: 10 (Lame) Excuses for Not Marketing

Identity and Optimization 

Reliable data is the first requirement of effective personalization. Automated identity resolution solutions layer identity markers, or information like an email or IP address, with third-party data to fill in the holes, so to speak, on a given customer profile. Third-party data can include demographic details and personal attributes as well as real-time shopping behavior. In either case, third-party data extends a company’s view of a customer beyond the data it already has. 

Though most insurance providers have mountains of data at their fingertips, that data is often spread out among internal systems and tools, leaving providers without a singular 360-degree view of the contacts in their CRM systems. It can be time- and resource-intensive to disrupt these data silos, but getting your own first-party data in order is essential to making the most of identity resolution tools and leveraging additional data for identity management. 

In addition to lead nurturing, identity management also supports lead scoring. Take property and casualty. Our collective return to work (and thus return to commuting), recent supply chain challenges, even an uptick in catastrophic events due to climate change are all driving up the frequency of and severity associated with P&C claims. In return, P&C insurers are dialing back customer acquisition efforts until they’re able to increase rates to be commensurate with today’s risk. Concerns about risk only strengthen the case for identity management, as it allows marketing and sales teams to dedicate the limited resources they have to identifying and working the most profitable leads, while they pass on targets that do not meet the profile of ideal customers.

Identity and Privacy 

Any discussion on consumer data should also include a note on consumer privacy. Insurers must confirm each and every customer has given their consent to be contacted, to remain compliant with consumer privacy regulation like TCPA (the Telephone Consumer Protection Act). When purchasing lead data from a third party, marketers must verify that their lead partners have also complied on their behalf, as the courts have made it clear both parties are ultimately responsible. Marketers and agents should be prepared to demonstrate compliance in the event of a consumer complaint. 

All that said, compliance is the bare minimum. With great data comes great responsibility. Consumer data must be managed with great care. Not only because it’s good for business but because it’s the right thing to do. Retail giant Target offers us a cautionary tale – years ago, it detected a 16-year-old’s pregnancy based on her shopping behavior and mailed her maternity-related marketing materials before she shared the news with her parents, creating a PR nightmare for the company and an unfortunate breach in privacy for the young woman. 

To be effective, identity management strategies must balance what’s technically possible with what’s feasible and optimal from a business perspective. A thoughtful approach and reliable partners will empower insurers with more accurate, comprehensive customer data and the ability to communicate with the right customers at the right time and with the right message.

Jeff Piotrowski

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Jeff Piotrowski

Jeff Piotrowski is market leader, insurance, at Jornaya. 


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