How leading media brands are using customer identities to evolve their business models

Q&A with Andras Cser of Forrester Research

The convergence of identities and the Internet of Things.
Since it’s 2017, if you are a marketing or business leader in the media industry, you are undergoing a major digital transformation. In talking with our clients every day, I hear stories of new major initiatives coming down the pike with big expectations around how digital is going to transform the customer experience, increase engagement and ultimately, catapult conversions!

While I am a big believer in the power of digital transformation, those are lofty goals and often times, the path to achieve them is unclear. That’s where implementing a strategy to manage consumer identities enters the picture.

I recently invited Andras Cser, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, to join me for a webinar to discuss the pivotal role customer identities are playing in personalization and omni-channel customer journeys. We covered such topics as:

  • Audience vs. Ads
  • Personalization and Omnichannel
  • The Connected Consumer

In addition, following the webinar, I asked Andras a few follow-up questions…

Jamie: How are customer identity solutions influencing new business models?

Andras: Forrester sees customer identity models playing a foundational role in the age of customer, across all dimensions of digitized content and service delivery, namely in the following areas:

  • Transforming the customer experience is only possible if you know fully well who the customer is: including what they like and don’t like, and can remember this information.
  • Accelerating your digital business is only possible if you understand the entire customer journey, which requires managing the customer’s identity.
  • Embracing the mobile mindshift is only possible if you can control which customer accesses which of your mobile customer-facing applications and ensure that they interact with you only in an authorized manner.
  • Turning big data into business insights and conversion rates mandates that you can attach identity to your business transactions’ data.
  • Managing the privacy of customers’ data requires that users can manage their data protection preferences and how your company shares their data.

Jamie: How is the media industry unique in terms of new business models?

Andras: The media industry was one of the first verticals to fully embrace digitization and digital content delivery. Printed materials have been published as eBooks and e-publications for over 10 years ago. The media needs to be timely – especially news media – which places a great burden on the digital delivery infrastructure. Even more than traditional printed and electronic (TV, radio) media, online media has to be ready for timely and fast consumption anywhere from any device. In many countries (in the US, and to a degree in EMEA), media also needs to work seamlessly with advertising, allowing careful segregation but full interoperability of content.

Jamie: For a media company not currently using an identity solution, what should it be doing as first steps?

Andras: We see media companies first building a unified registration portal that allows their customers to enroll with a single profile, and then using that portal to add business offerings (traditional and digital content, and other services) to the customer’s registered single security profile. To allow for such a single registration portal, the media company needs to map out all of its customer-facing online and offline assets and understand how a single user is represented today: is there a single user profile for all content or are there multiple user profiles for multiple pieces of content? Then, to enable smooth implementation of an identity solution, the media company needs to map out a customer migration and consolidation journey that allows it to reduce the number of customer user repositories, onboarding interfaces and processes. This allows the media company to not only cut costs with business processes but also reduce the cost of implementing an identity solution.

Jamie: How should media companies measure success or ROI when using an identity solution?

Andras: We see media companies create a scenario-based cost table of the: a) current and b) future implementation of customer-facing IAM for a period of three to five years. Then they compare total costs for scenarios a and b above. Cost categories include:

  1. Software and hardware subscription costs for customer-facing IAM (CIAM)
  2. Labor costs for CIAM IT infrastructure
  3. Customer call center costs (password resets, etc.)
  4. Fraud loss rates
  5. Cost of turned down business because of incorrect CIAM decisions
  6. Cost of compliance, fines, sanctions
  7. CIAM cost of ensuring a certain targeted conversion rate of customers
  8. CIAM cost of ensuring a certain customer retention rate

Jamie: What are Forrester’s predictions about new customer identity trends this year?

Andras: We see a combination of the following trends:

  • Companies looking to infuse identity management in their entire customer journey, from cradle to grave, across multiple channels (phone, mobile, traditional web, in person, mail, chatbots, etc.).
  • Companies wanting to generate business intelligence information out of CIAM policy enforcement, such as which product generates the largest customer enrollment, etc.
  • Vendors offering much more integrated anti-money laundering, fraud management, web fraud management and CIAM offerings to support reducing fraud loss rates and account takeovers.
  • Emergence of CIAM on the chatbot channel: companies learning to authenticate and authorize customers on intelligent chatbot channels.

In today’s digital transformation, CIAM is not only a “necessarily evil” or an unavoidable tax on sales, marketing and fulfillment of services. It is a key enabler of adding business value through deeper understanding, better management, and more pleasant delivery of the customer journey.

To hear more from our recent webinar on new business models in the media industry, please watch the replay here and let us know what you think.