OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. — With consumer identity data more fragmented than ever, thanks to siloed data collection and the omnichannel buying environment, one of marketers’ biggest challenges is to continue upping the game on delivering a personalized, relevant customer experience.

So say the consumer identity management experts at Infutor, who listed five trends impacting the evolution of identity management — a foundational component for driving personalization and engagement, according to Gib Olander, the firm’s senior vice president of product strategy.

“The customer experience continues to be a top marketing priority, and that means enabling personalized interactions,” Olander said. “Yet, capturing and resolving consumer data that can help identify individual consumers in an omnichannel world is increasingly difficult due to the siloed streams of data coming from multiple devices, channels and campaign management tools.

1. Artificial Intelligence Will Enhance Consumer Identity’s Importance. 

AI was one of the top marketing trends for 2017, and marketers are starting to utilize data-based machine learning to automate decisioning and continuously learn and predict future behaviors. Accurate and validated consumer identity data is the critical foundation for AI success in marketing, including life-change signals and historical identity data that helps AI to predict shifts in consumers' wants and needs.

2. Blockchain Marketing Will Take Shape. 

Blockchain is a buzzword that will begin to become less theoretical and take shape through real world applications in 2018. Consumer identity management will be a critical foundation to blockchain’s effectiveness as it will allow companies to collect, validate and authenticate disparate data sources from the onset of the chain.

3. Chatbots Will Predict the Future (Behaviors). 

With intelligence data tools becoming more widely used by marketers and consumers expecting Amazon-quality personalization, chatbots that leverage consumer identity management can help match verified identities with deterministic behaviors and deliver a more personalized experience and predict future customer activity.

4. The ‘Big 4’ Tech Providers Will Raise the Bar. 

As consumers are now accustomed to the customer service and personalization that the Big 4 tech providers (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple) deliver, other online transaction are lagging in a seamless cross device user experience. Combined with a low barrier of entry for creating new social identities — with unverified identities — brands of all sizes have a greater need for identity resolution. Use of and access to identity resolution data and tools will become more mainstream and accessible to brands of all sizes in 2018.

5. Privacy and Security Breaches Will Put Pressure on Legislators. 

With numerous data breaches in 2017, consumer data privacy and security is a top identity trend to watch. While it isn’t likely that EU GDPR-scale legislation is imminent in the U.S., marketers who use consumer identity data should watch closely for new legislation and regulations that affect both treatment and interaction with consumers.

In conclusion, Olander said, heeding these warning signs can help dealers and other business owners weather the storms of change.

“Marketers that lockdown a robust consumer identity management strategy can plan and act on forward-looking trends to move the needle on future identity resolution and personalization challenges.”