The identity resolution process: are customers turning into chameleons?

It may be noticeable that, like chameleons, they are becoming harder and harder to identify. And there is a reason for this. They are constantly changing their personal identifiers, like email, mobile numbers, or cookie IDs. The process to properly identify individuals we call “identity resolution”, and failures in identity resolution may sometimes have quite negative consequences.

Customers actively dislike not being recognised, for instance being treated as a new recruit when in fact they have been buying from you for years, or being sent the same message twice, and in addition to that there is a cost for the organisation with added communications costs.

Lack of good identity resolution processes also makes a nonsense of trying to calculate customer lifetime value or undertaking forward business planning based around your expected rates of recruitment and attrition.


So what does a good identity resolution process consist of?

We see it as matching all available personal identifiers, from every one of your customers, to get the best possible chance of joining your customer data inputs from multiple sources into actual customer records.

This used to be a relatively straightforward task when the main personal identifier was the postal name and address, although that in itself posed some considerable challenges.

With the usual mix of badly typed addresses, varying address structures, and incorrect postcodes we often find there is a problem just within name and address matching. In a recent case we found 25% name and address duplicates.

But the postal address is just one of multiple personal identifiers, each of which can change at any time.

We have all become identity chameleons, changing our mobile numbers, emails, cookie IDs etc with great regularity.

There is however a relatively simple solution – just keep hold of all the personal identifiers you have been able to link to each individual since you first recognised them, so that you have the best possible chance of identifying them when the reappear.

This is exactly what our cloud-based customer data platform does with the data it ingests; as each individual item of customer data is taken in, its identifiers are matched across the entire customer base.
an example of cdp identity resolution

If you think that you may have an identity resolution problem with your customer data, we can offer you a very low-cost solution; we can trial match all your customer data sources together in UniFida, and report on the amount of duplication that exists between them.

This will tell you how many customers you actually have, and how many duplicates you are carrying.


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UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.