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How Can Identity-Based Marketing Give You A Competitive Advantage?

Written by: Terry Tateossian, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Marketing is one of these disciplines that are ever-changing, evolving, and innovating to meet the demands of the day. And successful marketing strategists quickly learn how to adapt and apply the strategies that put their customers at the center of their campaigns.

However, targeting and reaching audiences with laser-focused precision that yields astonishing results, is getting more difficult with every passing year.

Thankfully, our knowledge of what consumers are looking for and what they expect from their purchasing journey grows as well. The data tells us that hyper-personalization is what marketers need to pay more attention to.

But how do you create hyper-personalized strategies? The short answer is through identity-based marketing.

Here’s what you need to know about identity marketing and how it can help your brand’s sales strategies.

What Is Identity Marketing?

Identity marketing is focused on creating tailor-made experiences that target and deliver the right message and value proposition to the right audience.

You might be wondering— isn’t that what you’re already doing by segmenting your audiences by age, gender, location, and other demographics to target them separately?

And while these groupings might help you generally narrow down some of the prospects you need to target, they give you little insight into the desires and needs of your audience.

Here’s where identity marketing comes in handy. It’s the strategy that actively seeks out, finds, and delivers personalized solutions, based on who your prospect is, what social and professional group (tribe) they belong to, and what are the things that move them. That is what hyper-personalization means for identity marketing.

How Does Identity Marketing Work?

Identity is a topic of pride, and people love it when brands recognize who they are. These positive emotions are what drive the success of identity marketing because businesses that pay attention to and cater to individuals rather than simple demographics manage to tap into consumers’ emotions and move them to action.

Serving individuals might sound like an insurmountable task, because after all, how do you learn who the people making up your target audience are?

Thankfully, some instruments can help you gather sufficient information to help you group and target your prospects more effectively, starting from more general categories and pinning down a specific group of individuals as you go.

People love to belong to a group they find they share values and interests with, so tribe-specific offers have a better chance of influencing purchase decisions and brand loyalty. Segmenting audiences based on their occupation, life stage, and affiliation will give you a competitive advantage as you’ll be targeting people in the specific category where people are much more likely to share the same goals, pains, and traits.

These groups, or tribes, will help you customize your offers and provide exclusivity, which will make your audience feel seen and understood. Triggering these emotions help build not only brand recognition but long-term loyalty.

For identity marketing to work, you have to ensure that your exclusive or gated offers can be redeemed by the specific audience tribe and them only. You can do that by setting up a digital verification system that verifies your prospects' identity before they can redeem your offer.

Furthermore, these offers help you get a better understanding of the individuals in those communities and build a lasting relationship based on offering solutions specific to the tribe's needs.

The process goes something like this:

  1. You create a gated offer for a specific customer tribe (e.g. students, nurses, bus drivers, and more)

  2. Consumers opt-in and get digitally verified before claiming the offer

  3. You analyze collected data to nurture customer relationships and personalize future campaigns

What Problems Does Identity Marketing Solve?

Personalized marketing campaigns are not a new thing. But the data we’ve been using to segment audiences don’t get to the bottom of who the people we’re selling to are.

There is only so much a geographical location or the age of your potential customers can tell you. Important questions like what drives your specific audience or what makes them interested in certain brands and products remain a mystery. And most marketers are left A/B testing what would work best for their target audience.

Needless to say, this approach can end up costing a lot with very little return on investment to justify it. Authentic personalized experiences rely on ensuring we talk the language of the people we’re approaching.

Unfortunately, the data most marketers are investing in is usually anonymous, general, and not representative, thus unreliable when it comes to personalization.

Looking at demographic data, for example knowing where your customers are based doesn’t give you any insight into the emotional triggers potential customers will be moved by.

That’s not to say that demographics are not useful, but rather that this data needs to be evaluated together with more detailed knowledge of your customers.

From General to Hyper-Personalized

Third-party platforms like social media and search engines can give you information about the interests and search intents of users, but data from these sources need to be continuously updated. What a person was interested in today, isn’t necessarily what they’ll be interested in in a week. For marketers to be able to gain long-term leverage in their personalized campaigns, they have to focus on gaining zero-party data.

Zero-party data refers to the information consumers willingly provide brands with. This can be anything from personal characteristics like styles, preferences, occupation, and hobbies. It’s the opt-in information that customers are ready to provide to help brands recognize who they are and further personalize their experience.

This is one of the most valuable types of data you should be aiming to gather. It helps you hyper-personalize your customers' experience and thus adds value. When working with zero-party data you have to keep in mind that you’ll have to place the appropriate security measures to protect your customers' data. An investment that will pay off in the audience's trust and loyalty.

What Advantages Does Identity Marketing Give Your Brand?

We’ve covered how identity marketing helps you personalize your value proposition and target the right kind of audience. Let’s see how it benefits your brand in the long run.

1. Identity Marketing Helps You Stand Out

First of all, by applying the principles of identity marketing, you’ll stand out. Cutting through the noise of online advertising can be a dreadful task, especially if you’re doing what everyone else is. Approaching consumers' tribes with shared values instead of general demographics will help you stick out of the crowd.

2. Identity Marketing Helps You Build Stronger Relationships

Reaching prospects with individualized marketing campaigns that speak to the people they have a greater potential of convincing them to act. Knowing that you understand and respect their individualities help build better and longer-lasting relationships.

3. Identity Marketing Helps You Spread the Word

If people like your brand they will talk about it. Word of mouth is still the most effective way to build trust with new audiences fast. And for people to like your brand, they need to feel like you know and care about who they are, and identity marketing helps you do that.

4. Identity Marketing Helps You Collect Valuable Data

Opting in gives audiences the choice of helping brands learn who they are, rather than unwillingly being part of the general statistics that do not always deliver the right insight into what they are looking for. With identity marketing, your brand doesn’t have to be tied with any negative connotations of personal information being misused.

5. Identity Marketing Helps You Build Loyalty

Once you manage to reach your audience through authenticity, understanding of users' individuality, and adding value to their specific needs, you will gain a loyal following. The personalized, emotionally-rich approach of identity marketing, is the shortest route you can take to gaining trust and long-term brand loyalty.

To Wrap Up

If you’ve been wondering how you can improve your marketing strategies, better segment your target audiences, and emphasize your value proposition, then it’s time to invest in identity marketing.

A strategy that relies on a deeper understanding of human emotion, motivations, values, fears, need of belonging, and delivering solutions that cater to those, has no competition, and brands that put resources into fully understanding their audiences, and how they change through life have a competitive advantage.

Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Terry Tateossian, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Terry Tateossian, Founding Partner of Socialfix Media is a fourth-generation entrepreneur who is recognized as an Inc. 5000 America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies, Forbes’ Top Women in Business, Fastest Growing Women Presidents by WPO, and 40 Under 40 Business Leaders by NJBIZ. Terry has been featured for outstanding leadership and career accomplishments in numerous industry publications as an engineer, a thought-leader in technology, and an innovator in the field of marketing. But her favorite and toughest earned title is being “Mom” to her 2 children.



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