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Why marketers rightly care about identity

Retail marketers’ jobs just got harder, with eMarketer forecasting a 2.6-per-cent dip in retail sales in Asia-Pacific this year.

The individual country impact could be much worse. On top of sales concerns, retail marketers are trying to understand the many dimensions that make up their best customers, who are changing all the time – even more so during the global pandemic.

Identity has become divisive in digital advertising but it’s essential for marketers to understand, find, and accurately target and message their customers.

Five reasons why marketers care about identity

  • Customers: You’ve heard every retail brand repeat some version of ‘our customers come first.’ That’s because it’s true both in principle and action. No customers, no business. What we know about customers is often limited by our view or interaction. Where identity comes into play is in filling in the many blindspots in our knowledge of customers. Data enrichment is one way retail marketers round out their view of customers in order to understand in real time their changing behaviors, passions, and interests. It’s imperative for retail marketers to be on top of those changes so we can speak to our customers in ways that resonate. 
  • Addressability: Now that we know our customers, let’s go find them. Any retail marketer that wants to keep their job is beholden to proving ad spend well spent. Identity helps us make those ad bets with greater assurance that every dollar is going toward engaging someone who is actually interested or has a high propensity to be interested in our products. Context does matter, but it comes second to identity.
  • Frequency capping: Customers are people and people can get easily annoyed by an ad they are not interested in or have seen too many times. Identity solves the frequency capping problem. When devices are connected across a customer’s digital life using identity, we can ensure that she is encouraged toward conversion versus annoyed by the recurrence of an ad. 
  • Measurement and attribution: We need proof our campaigns worked. Identity makes this happen. With identity we can follow the customer through their journey from exposure to conversion to repeat purchase, etc. We can also ascribe to the appropriate channels the credit for that conversion. 
  • Privacy: Everyone has the right to privacy and consent should work the way consumers think it does. Navigating privacy is increasingly more difficult for everyone in the digital advertising ecosystem. With privacy laws changing all the time, even well-meaning companies are having a tough time keeping up. It requires deep resources to do the right thing by consumers. But it can be done and identity can help. 

There are significant challenges ahead for our industry. Investing in identity stands to benefit retail marketers, publishers, and consumers. And, let’s face it, we all need each other to survive. If we come together on identity, we can turn those headwinds into headway and build a future that connects rather than divides us. 

  • Fred Marthoz is MD – Asia at Lotame.

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