Leveling Up Identity Resolution: How Identity Resolution Lays the Foundation for Complex Customer Engagement Solutions

Segment enables data teams to solve challenges in identity resolution, including syncing customer profiles and enriching them with data from different sources, and activating them!

By Segment

A company’s ability to personalize their communications is continually cited as a top driver for purchase decisions, yet our 2022 “State of Personalization Report” reveals that only 35% of companies feel they are successfully achieving omnichannel personalization. While personalization is an incredibly important part of any customer engagement strategy, with a sea of customer touchpoints spanning mobile apps, websites, in-person activities, emails, and more, connecting the dots across the entire customer journey is more challenging than ever before. 

In many cases, no matter how much business teams strive to provide a truly personalized experience, disparate, siloed data sources, and the ability to manage identity resolution, is a barrier to providing the kind of customer experience that keeps and engages customers. This is why, despite the best efforts of data teams, over half of senior marketers reported disappointment in the results achieved from marketing analytics in 2020, and a full 60% of marketing teams said they planned to cut investments in analytics due to poor outcomes, according to Gartner.

This is where smart application of core customer data infrastructure solutions like Segment can give data teams extra support in driving business value with a tested approach to identity resolution, that gives all business teams a true 360 picture of customer behavior so it’s easier to capture the promised benefits of identity resolution software, and ultimately, a personalized customer experience. 

If you’ve read the last two posts in this Identity Resolution for Data Teams series, you’ve learned the challenges and best practices of identity resolution, as well as the pitfalls of attempting to manage identity resolution in-house with a DIY solution. In both posts, we recommended that data teams take an approach to identity resolution that reduces the amount of time required to update, maintain, test, and tweak the system, to allow for more time to focus on delivering value for the business.  

In this post, we’ll showcase what happens when data teams can move past the setup and maintenance work of identity resolution, and the kinds of powerful use cases that are enabled when teams can action fully resolved customer profiles to deliver business insights, and enable business teams to action data from business applications like CRM, martech solutions, success tools, call centers, and more. 

How Segment empowers data teams to focus on business use cases

There are several wins data teams get when a trusted solution, like Segment’s customer profile, is a node on their identity graph.

First is the ease of use that comes with not having to build and maintain every aspect of the identity graph against an ever changing and expanding sea of inputs from business teams. As data practitioners look to merge identifiers, detecting overlaps between 2 identifiers (like userID and anonymousID) starts out easy, but gets considerably harder (n2) as more identifiers are added into the mix. When an identity graph drifts or breaks, internal and external stakeholders lose trust in the solution. With Segment Unify, data teams are able to configure the list of IDs that you want to rely on, in addition to the rules they should follow, making it infinitely easier to maintain a clean identity graph over time.

The second is the ability to enrich the identity graph with data from across the entire business. This type of flexibility is only possible when you can share consistent versions of the identity graph to any downstream system that the business needs. The role of an identity graph is to not only understand who the customer is, but to also enable how the business can build holistic customer records.  Rather than taking an exclusively DIY approach to identity resolution that relies heavily on thousands of lines of SQL, and requires constant monitoring and updating from data teams, solutions like Segment give data teams—and business users—the freedom to build on resolved profiles by syncing them to a data warehouse where they can be enriched with other data to build a complete view of the customer. This can include data from Segment events like web and app interactions as well as systems of record like CRM, databases, or customer support applications. 

With “golden profiles” created in the warehouse, data teams have observability into the identity graph and can easily answer questions for themselves, such as:

  • “Can I monitor for potential instrumentation anomalies?” 

  • “How are my profiles stacking up vs. configured or system limits?”  

  • “Why did all these emails merge into the same profile?”

The third benefit data teams experience with Segment is the ability to activate customer profiles in any downstream system. With the newly launched Profiles Sync and Reverse ETL, data teams can sync customer profiles to the data warehouse, enrich the profile with data from other systems, create valuable audiences that power personalized customer experiences, and easily activate the newly enhanced customer profiles to the rest of the business in the applications they already use. All the essential maintenance and cleaning work is handled, so data teams can focus on more complex use cases.

The final benefit is that it helps data teams expand beyond BI use cases by enabling marketing teams and data teams to work on the same definition of the customer to create personalized experiences. Unify, Profiles Sync, and Reverse ETL give data teams the ability to build automated pipelines that combine customer profiles with existing data in the warehouse that becomes the foundational view of the customer. Once the profiles are enriched, data teams can use Reverse ETL to send them back into Segment where marketing teams can get to work with Twilio Engage to build new personalized audiences, journeys, and campaigns without needing SQL skills. 

With the most complex parts of identity resolution handled, data teams can focus on solving the biggest challenges business teams face: like marketing attribution, churn analysis, and recommendations. 

Solution Deep Dive: How iconic guitar maker Fender uses identity resolution to increases customer engagement and lifetime value with its Fender Play music lessons app

Founded in 1946, Fender's guitars, amps, pedals, and accessories have been played on more stages than any other company in the industry. With more than 75 years in the business, the Southern California company has established a worldwide influence that extends from the studio to the stage to the at-home consumer.  Fender worked with Segment to increase activation for Fender Play, its music lessons app, and graduate app subscribers from free to paid accounts.

At the core of Segment Unify is Identity Resolution. Fender uses Identity Resolution to merge the history of every customer into a single profile so they can personalize a Fender Play user's learning experience and display the right product to that e-commerce customer.

The power of Identity Resolution is that it allows Fender to know that Johnny B. who browsed guitars on mobile and John Good, who viewed amplifiers on its website, is the same johnny.b.good86 who has liked every single image of ukuleles that Fender posted on its Instagram account. 

Tracking user activity across multiple touch points ensures Fender never misses a beat. With access to consolidated customer data, creating audiences with similar user traits is easy. And it lets the marketing team tailor campaigns with product recommendations and offers that probably has some customers thinking about getting the band back together.   

With identity-resolved customer profiles Fender personalized offers and lesson plans in Fender Play and

Increased active paying users by 5%.

“Segment Unify is really exciting because it's the future of Fender. Educating ourselves about our users in a responsible way – to give them the ideal learning and shopping experience – is what's going to help them become players for life.”

- Claire Armstrong, Director of Digital Product Management, Fender

Solution Deep Dive: Sanofi builds “golden profiles” to increase omni-channel engagement and improve patient outcomes

Sanofi, a leading global healthcare company, provides life-changing treatments, medications, and vaccines to millions around the world. Fueled by data and digital technologies, cutting-edge science and manufacturing, Sanofi aims to transform the practice of medicine through the creation of innovative treatments for patients across the healthcare spectrum. Sanofi helps healthcare providers (HCPs) such as doctors, hospitals, and pharmacists provide the best possible care to patients by continually educating them on medications that fit patients’ specific needs.

Sales representatives at Sanofi have regular on-site contact with HCPs, but Sanofi struggled to connect these customers' digital interactions with offline channels. This created gaps in Sanofi’s understanding of the entire customer journey and missed opportunities to connect online and offline customer touch points. Sanofi couldn’t optimize distribution of information to customers about new medications and treatment plans because It lacked the 360-degree customer view it needed to enable personalized customer communications. 

To provide a better experience for health care providers, Sanofi set out to collect its own first-party data and build accurate, real-time customer profiles that could power digital-first engagement and personalization. Initially, Sanofi considered building its own data solution and ecosystem, but ultimately decided it would be inefficient to fully recreate a solution that already existed. 

Sanofi used Segment Unify to help launch OneView; golden profiles, built using online and offline customer data from multiple sources and used to target omni-channel marketing campaigns. With OneView, Sanofi is able to better educate HCPs on medications and treatments, improving the customer experience and patient outcomes. Ultimately, the decision to make the Segment profile a node in their data graph enabled Sanofi to take ownership of its first-party data and accelerate implementation. Before Segment, it took three-plus days to activate customer data; now Sanofi is activating data in under three hours, a 95% increase in efficiency.

With Twilio Segment, Sanofi can: 

  • Collect and centralize data from multiple sources and activate it immediately, enabling better engagement with healthcare professionals.

  • Synthesize raw data into real-time, identity-resolved customer profiles

  • Deliver complete customer profiles to the warehouse with Profiles Sync, enabling profile enrichment and valuable audience insights.

  • Use Reverse ETL to easily send profile data back out of the warehouse to any tool in their tech stack for laser-focused targeting and personalization.

  • Improve healthcare providers’ understanding of new therapeutic areas, leading to better experiences for both doctors and patients.

“Previously, we would work with our data by moving it, then using it. Now, with Segment, we can use data while we move it. The big benefit of Segment is not only its ETL capabilities to move data from point A to point B, but Segment is also able to unify data quickly in the warehouse before we send the data to campaign tools."

- Rick Troiani, Director of Omni-Channel Engagement Architecture at Sanofi

In Conclusion 

Every business wants to understand their customer so that they can deliver excellent personalized experiences that differentiate them in the market. Data teams are uniquely positioned to enable the business, and must be involved in developing an identity resolution solution that works for their entire organization’s unique customer set and channel mix. Otherwise, each business unit will continue to create their own view of the customer based on their own data silo.

This is why 25,000 businesses across a variety of industries have chosen Segment as their trusted solution for delivering business teams with a 360 view of the customer. If you are interested in learning more about Segment, we invite you to watch a product tour webinar where we unpack how data teams can benefit from the Segment solution, and see first-hand why Segment relies on its own solution to handle the most complex use cases, like marketing attribution and more.

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