Consolidating customer identity makes insights actionable across channels, and while tools such as marketing automation are starting to tie things together when it comes to coordinated engagement, the value of those tools is limited to the data they are based on, according to Russell Loarridge of Janrain, who here examines the ROI from customer identity management. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

For example, batch-and-blast emails, based on little- to-no segmentation, don't have high open rates. High degrees of segmentation and personalisation, on the other hand, have been shown to dramatically increase open-rates and click-throughs.

At a time when marketers are spending more on technology every year, many are leaving money on the table by not investing appropriately in customer data and identity.

ROI for Customer Identity Management comes in the form of both short- and long-term benefits.

"The prediction is that longer term, traditional marketing campaigns consisting of one-way push-messaging will largely disappear," said Loarridge. "Instead, marketing will be based on relationships because we will understand who our customers are and what they care about."

Today's marketing structure and engagement technology is campaign-oriented though, which will not immediately change. In the short-term, Customer Identity Management can help impact established metrics like open-rates, clicks, downloads, leads, and (un)subscription rates.

An organisation's approach to customer identity will be dependent on the business objectives. A retailer will likely want to increase the average order value and total number of orders, whereas a publisher will aim to increase unique and repeat website visits and/ or mobile app usage.

The data that helps each to improve their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) differs substantially. The retailer will want data that helps him understand an individual's budget and intent to buy, for example, while the publisher will want to understand a user's content preferences.

Customer Identity Management provides the foundation for marketers to understand customer insights across channels. By unifying customer identity, retailers, publishers, and other businesses can have optimal customer insight to deliver the most personalised messages and positively influence KPIs.

"Marketers that successfully leverage customer identity will gain and build customer relationships, value, and loyalty," concluded Loarridge. "And, if we think back to the context and challenges marketers face around the expectations and behaviours of today's consumer, it is clear that those who don't will instead put those relationships in jeopardy."