Everyone is fighting for the attention of potential customers. It’s the work you’ve done; the creative energy expended by your team; and the amount of time your group spent just to get the right people to visit your website or mobile app. After all that sweat and toil, you don’t want to lose your customers to a high-profile security breach. Solving the balancing act between defensive measures and effective customer experiences is what consumer identity and access management (CIAM) solutions and services are all about.
What is Consumer Identity and Access Management?
CIAM puts digital accounts at the center of your marketing program. Once you have a single point of truth for each consumer, you’ll be empowered to deliver digital ease of use that sets you apart from your rivals. You don’t have to trade high conversion rates for protection. With CIAM, you can have your cake and eat it too. That’s a good thing, since 73% of consumers say a good customer experience is key in influencing brand loyalty.
Marketers already have great marketing campaign solutions at their disposal, but the challenge remains to market well to each person versus the group. This fuels the need to deliver high-quality, personalized and consistent identity usage across all channels, while providing those same consumers with the air-tight security and privacy protection they assume and take for granted.
Registration Should Be the Start of a Beautiful Partnership
Good marketing starts right at the point when the customer is ready to take action: registration.
A frustrating sign-up process could prompt a would-be customer to sprint away. So, making this frictionless is an absolute must. The market has shown 10% to 20% more digital services are used when consumers find the authentication process easy. This equals direct revenue impact.
Frictionless sign-on and authentication connects directly to the level of engagement, brand trust and loyalty you can build with your consumers. However, due to the siloed nature of engagements from different lines of business, such as marketing and product management, not all platforms use the same information.
Worse, sometimes a consumer is asked to give information they’ve already provided. Figuring out this adoption dilemma, and converting unknown leads into business opportunities and revenue is a critical part of the marketing role. Enterprises strive to improve this with features like single sign-on across products or being able to login with social credentials. While helpful, these tactics don’t go far enough.
How Consumer Identity and Access Management Can Help
The right consumer identity and access management program can help you overcome these challenges by:
- Providing the flexibility to be creative: The right CIAM program will enable you to easily change the format, customize the flow of questions and incorporate your brand’s look and feel during sign-on.
- Minimizing friction: You should only collect the minimal information needed at each interaction, to propel your customer to the next step. If it’s a newsletter, maybe all you need is an email address to get them started. Only ask for more when you need it. You want to get them in the door quickly, making it as easy and painless as possible. Use progressive profiling to only ask for information you don’t already have. Over time, as the customer’s profile becomes more well known, this partnership will become even more seamless, to the point where it could be possible for them to not have to use a password with your brand. You want to make your customers’ lives easier and progress them forward on their journey with your brand.
- Ensuring seamless omnichannel experiences: Digital touchpoints continue to grow, and effective CIAM solutions enable a new login to be reflected across all channels and devices. Your customers can then enjoy the same high-quality experience with your brand whether they’re accessing it using a desktop, laptop, mobile device, TV or Internet of things device. After this, you’ll never lose sight of your customers or where they are in their journey with your brand.
- Continuing authentication throughout the journey: With CIAM, authentication doesn’t stop at log-in. Standard techniques, such as usernames and passwords, are not enough. Instead, a consumer identity and access management program can provide adaptive access and ongoing authentication that uses context-sensitive psychographic data and methods like behavioral biometrics to identify just the right time to step up protection. For example, after logging in, a customer could simply be browsing your online shop on a known device. This likely wouldn’t call for more data. However, if she returns later that day using a different mobile device and attempts to make a $1,200 purchase, more authentication might be required.
Get A Single View of Each Customer Identity
Once you’ve welcomed a new customer to your digital world, it’s time to build and strengthen your partnership with them. Like all relationships, the best ones are long-term and based on trust. Of course, trust must be established on both sides. When you provide a frictionless and superior journey, you establish trust and loyalty with your customers. This only strengthens over time. Meanwhile, your group is learning more and more about the customers as they interact with your brand. As time goes by and more data is collected, you can extend more and more trust to the customers, making their time with you even better and more frictionless.
How do you get there? A single view of your customer is the key to digital engagement and to unlocking 1-to-1 interactions. Each customer’s identity should be unified into a single, central profile. No matter how many different newsletters and offers they’ve signed up for or how they access your brand, they should have just one account and profile. This can be a challenge, as the vast array of new apps, websites and connected devices creates data silos.
Once a problem that only plagued the IT department, now data silos are also a marketing problem. When each consumer has a single identity, you can get to know them better and understand where they are in their journey with your brand. Based on those insights, the right consumer identity and access management program can identify unique ways to engage with your customers, yielding new revenue.
Sorting Customer Identity Data in New Ways
It all starts with customer data. It’s the most precious asset to any marketing team, and CIAM offers access to rich user engagement data. It also enables you to connect data collected across the customer life cycle to specific identities, creating compelling knowledge profiles. Your team can then analyze the data to uncover and understand customer trends, behaviors, patterns and motivations of specific types of customers. These insights can be the spark behind creative marketing campaigns tailored to customer groups who have similar traits, often called personas.
In addition to compelling campaigns, the data and insights that CIAM delivers can be the foundation to power data-driven decisions and identity marketing actions. This includes choosing just the right time and delivery mechanism (web, mobile, etc.) for relevant cross-sell and upsell actions. And, those more relevant actions will be consistent across devices. For example, if a customer takes advantage of an offer on one device, such as your website, it’ll be recognized on all other devices where they can access your brand. They can seamlessly pick up where they left off. More relevance not only leads to loyalty and a better relationship, it also leads to more revenue.
Of course, crafting interactions that stand apart from your rivals is not easy. You’re likely already using several marketing solutions to manage your campaigns, email communications, customer analytics, content management and journey mapping. The right CIAM program will seamlessly work with your existing marketing and business programs, so you can quickly use the data-driven insights you discover.
Handling Data Breaches With CIAM
You’re doing it all right. You’ve been providing your customers with a frictionless, on-brand registration and consistent, high-quality moments and relevant offers across devices. You’re building long-term connections well across the board. Engagement, loyalty and conversion are up, and few customers are leaving. Life is good. Well, it can all disappear in an instant with a data breach or compliance misstep. In a matter of minutes, a brand’s good name can be left in ashes on social media.
When a business becomes the victim of a data breach, the costs can be staggering. The obvious source of these costs are legal fees and damages. However, the damage to your name and brand, while difficult to quantify, can hurt revenue and future growth even more. Data breaches have become such a common problem, customers now consider data security a factor in overall customer happiness ratings.
Keep Up With Compliance
Rules around customer data protection and privacy are also increasing around the world. Examples include the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, the California Consumer Privacy Act and more.
CIAM solutions help securely handle customer information and helping marketers meet compliance rules, no matter what geography they’re running in. The right consumer identity and access management solution will make it easy for your customers to easily manage their own consent, modify their own profile and have full control over their data subject rights.
Dive Deeper into Consumer Identity and Access Management
The right CIAM setup will provide you the flexibility to be creative so you can streamline the user interface, maximize ease-of-use and deliver consistent, on-brand omnichannel experiences while protecting your data and your customers’ privacy. This focus will lead to trusted, long-term connections with your customers. In fact, CIAM doesn’t only empower you, it also enables your customers to manage their own data and levels of consent, so they always feel valued and respected. Combined with the amazing experiences you’ll be providing, this only strengthens that connection with them over time.
To learn more about how consumer identity and access management can help your business, please check out our CIAM for Dummies ebook. It includes CIAM business drivers, use cases, technology, deployment strategies and planning.
Associate Partner - Global CIAM Leader, IBM Security
Martijn Loderus is an Associate Partner for IBM Security Services. He leads IBM Security’s Global Consumer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) Services p...