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How to achieve a single 360 degree view of your customers

Sir Francis Bacon is famously credited with the saying "Knowledge is power." Businesses across the globe have been taking that idea and running with it, investing in powerful data analytics programs to enhance every aspect of their operations. Customer engagement is perhaps the most fertile ground for such efforts, as big data and advanced analytics tools can help organizations capture a more complete picture of consumers and improve their interactions at every touch point.

Data-driven practices have become a major focus of customer engagement strategies. A recent CMS Council study discovered that 78 percent of marketers thought their CMOs should be spearheading analytics-based and metrics-based customer outreach initiatives. However, that same report found that only 7 percent of respondents had the ability to offer data-driven customer interactions in real time and across all of their touch points.

Digital Landscape Obfuscates Customer Identity - Omnichannel Fragmentation

Why the disconnect? The answer may lie in the increasingly complex, omnichannel landscape that customers navigate today. Consumers no longer interact with brands only through in-store visits, over the phone and via their website. New touch points can include multiple mobile apps, multiple social media accounts, a broad variety of IoT devices, and many more. This tangled web of platforms invariably leads to siloed interactions that lack the context to provide more targeted and personalized engagement.

The problem can be traced back to the customer's digital identity. The digital landscape has become so complicated that it's extremely difficult for businesses to parse through who they are truly interacting with at any given time -- or even be aware of all interactions. How can brands know if the person behind the Twitter handle tweeting at them and the site user signing up for a promotional offer are one and the same?

Without a way to unite their disparate and siloed systems, brands will be unable to achieve a single view of their customers.

Single Sign-on and Customer Identity Bring it all Together

By implementing single sign-on and customer identity and access management (CIAM) solutions, businesses can begin knocking down the silos that prevent them from meeting their customer engagement goals. CIAM does this by providing a method to unify the numerous identities that make up an individual's digital life (Facebook, Twitter, email, mobile app user, etc.) into a single persona. Brands can collect data from various platforms and generate a more comprehensive picture of who that individual is, what they're interested in, and how to interact with them.

For example, consider a user who signs up for a local promotion via a regional micro site of a brand, but subsequently abandons that account. If they continue to log into the brand's mobile app on a regular basis, that's a good indication that any upcoming sale in their region that matches their product preferences should be promoted through that platform rather than via the microsite. It's about timing the interaction just right and matching the touch point with the individual. To be able to adjust promotions and campaigns to an individual, that individual's identity must be known across touch points. If the regional microsite and mobile app have separate, disconnected identity management functions then this will be impossible.

SSO further streamlines things by providing a quick, simple and secure method to access all of these various digital identities. With a single login, the customer can access any account without needing to separately enter distinct login credentials for each one. Those seemingly trivial annoyances can prevent a valuable brand interaction and an opportunity to further customer engagement.

SSO helps remove barriers to consumer outreach while adhering to robust security posture best practices, so brands can avoid the nasty fallout from an account breach.

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