It seems like virtually every marketing tech vendor these days is on a quest to provide the true “single view of the customer.”
Today, Chicago-based Signal wants to claim the crown. It is launching a customer-identity management solution that it says finally unlocks “the coveted single view of the customer.”
This Unified Customer View (UCV), built on the company’s existing Fuse Open Data Platform, inhales cross-channel data from email, ads, web sites, mobile campaigns, customer-relationship management systems, and other sources to feed in real time more complete and accurate customer profiles, CEO and cofounder Michael Sands told VentureBeat.
The company cited an unnamed “big brand” that used the new solution to process data from multiple channels and generate 25 million Unified View Profiles within three months.
Since consumers typically use several devices and multiple channels like sites, email, and social media, the idea of “a single view” is an effort to put the fragmented data trails together into one customer profile, and to determine what that one customer is interested in.
The faster and more accurately a marketer understands who and where the customer is, the better she can target ads or content, personalize websites, focus emails, offer location-based coupons, or measure the effectiveness of campaigns. And it has to be done for millions of users.
“You want to know as it’s happening that a customer is on a website or in a brick-and-mortar store,” Sands said.
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Founded in 2010, Signal says its data platform supports over 45,000 digital properties, including Allstate, Audi, Macy’s, and Starwood Hotels.
Sands said that UCV broadens the previous platform so that it now includes data gathered from any source. It also places on the data an anonymous identifier that belongs to the brand and is used to assemble the profile, although the user’s identity is known only if the user has logged in.
And it does this in real time.
“Other identity solutions by comparison are based on platforms that were architected for batch processes or are a combination of multiple systems acquired through the years,” he said.
“A piece of data may sit in one of [a competitor’s] systems but that doesn’t mean it’s available everywhere or within milliseconds of being captured.” Signal says the data in UCV is “continuously and automatically updated in real time” as data comes in from user activity.
Sands noted that Google and Facebook also offer “always on” real-time customer identity profiles. But, he added, their solutions don’t “help a brand maintain control” of user data — plus the two giants are focused on using the data to sell ads. And marketing clouds like Adobe or Oracle use data primarily for their own tools. By contrast, Signal notes that it is a “neutral” platform, available for any tool in the marketing ecosystem.
The company also points to the UCV’s use of “deterministic matching.”
For example, if a “[logged-in] customer uses an airlines rewards account number both in their desktop and their mobile application,” Sands told us, “then that browser and device are associated as being the same user.”
The accuracy of this kind of deterministic match is close to 100 percent. Other platforms, Sands said, are less accurate because they use probabilistic matching that relies on “rule-based algorithms to determine the likelihood that the customer on one device is the same as the user of another device, based on interactions.”