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How identity resolution and anonymous-to-known capabilities can power your brand

By Greg Griffiths | Posted on June 24, 2018

How identity resolution works

From the barista who knows exactly how sweet you like your daily nonfat, caramel macchiato to the CPA who’s been doing your taxes for years, personalization is at the core of the services you love and return to. For brands, knowing your customers is the key to engaging them, building loyalty and driving revenue. The ability to understand your brand’s consumers - from anonymous visitors to known and loyal customers - is central to maximizing return on their omni-channel experience. The challenge is clear: how to identify customers across multiple channels in an era of heightened consumer privacy concerns.

In our webinar, The Mechanics of Identity Resolution, Janrain Solutions Architect Sherwick Min and Director of Demand Generation Suzanne Balter dive into how identity resolution can build your understanding of your customers’ behavior and decision-making processes.

What is “identity resolution?”

Anonymous to Known Customer IdenityIdentity Resolution is the process through which disparate data points, often from data sources of varying integrity are connected to create a composite business key to accurately identify an individual customer. Data sources can include information provided directly through customer registration, additional data points built over time through progressive profiling, appended data from third-party sources, anonymous (pre-registration) behavioral tracking or device attributes. By connecting these data dots, brands can be truly innovative - in creating personalized experiences, in delivering targeted content, and in making accurate business decisions.

But not all data points are created equal in terms of accuracy and recency. First-party data - the information that customers freely provide - is more valuable than third party data attained through social media or data appending services. The three-fold challenge for brands:

  1. To demonstrate the value of registration to potential customers,
  2. To build customer or user data through progressive profiling, and
  3. To provide incentives for returning users to log in.

The Janrain Identity Cloud empowers brands to not only give their customers a seamless registration and authentication experience, fine-grained consent management and progressive profile building, it also makes identity resolution and advanced customer journey analytics a reality.

Mapping your brand’s Identity resolution strategy

Identity Resolution StrategySherwick Min is an experienced solution architect at Janrain and an avid motorcycle road racer who competes at the professional level. Sherwick finds many similarities between helping Janrain’s clients plan and implement a CIAM initiative and strategizing and executing a plan over a race weekend. In our webinar, he walks through five main stages of the identity resolution process.

The first of these is “Mapping the Journey.” When planning for a race - or when working with a Janrain client - reverse engineering from the desired end state is the first step in Sherwick’s process. Typically, his journey map will track three dimensions:

  • Strategy - Of course, the fastest way from A to B is a straight line; neither a road racing circuit nor an individual’s customer journey is linear. Planning for the curves - hitting them at the optimal entrance speed and exiting them at maximum velocity - is critical to a fast lap and winning. Similarly, optimizing each customer’s journey in terms of velocity and engagement - How long do you expect to be in a relationship? What are the key points of inflection in your relationship? What are the primary goals of your relationship? - is needed to maximize value.
  • Tactics - Once the track is mapped, Sherwick optimizes the bike’s setup for the highest priority corners (such as shortening the wheelbase and raising the center of gravity to improve agility through corners that lead onto straights). As brands develop their identity strategies, they similarly need to optimize the website experience around key consumer decision points along each journey - so they stay engaged instead of abandon.
  • Scale - In the road racing world, what works on a small track - or what works on a single turn - needs to be scalable to meet the needs of other tracks. For instance, the strategy and tactics that are effective on a small scale (such as setting a bike up for a 10-foot of elevation drop through Miller's "Attitudes") must be amplified to handle more drastic challenges (such as the 10-story drop through Laguna Seca's "Corkscrew"). Once brands determine their strategy and tactics within a specific use case, the next stage is to determine how best to scale that identity strategy to the larger market. Here, the challenges can be delivering a seamless experience around the globe, respecting regional-specific data and consent regulations, or working across multiple apps and web properties.

There is not a one-size fits-all solution to identity resolution. Each brand’s ideal customer journey is unique, as are their audiences, goals and ecosystem requirements. That’s why Sherwick and our talented professional services team help our clients from initial interaction until well after delivery to map and fine tune their customer identity solution to best understand their customers’ journeys - from anonymous to known to advocate.

Watch our on-demand webinar, The Mechanics of Identity Resolution, to learn about the next four stages in identity resolution.

Contact us to learn how the Janrain Identity Cloud can help your brand get deeper insights into who you customers are and how to best engage your audience.

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About the author

Greg Griffiths

Greg Griffiths

Sr. Product Marketing Manager

Greg Griffiths brings more than 15 years' experience marketing SaaS solutions in the enterprise IT, publishing and education arenas to Janrain as our Senior Product Marketing Manager. Greg drives much of Janrain's content and works across groups to ensure cohesive and articulate presentation of how our products and services align with the needs of our clients and the larger market. An analytics geek, Greg also steers much of Janrain's internal SEO and conversion initiatives, as well as new product launches. 

When Greg is away from our Portland office, he's likely enjoying time with his kids, near a trout stream, in a hammock, with a Faulkner novel close by ... probably all four at the same time.

View all posts by Greg Griffiths