The timeless Tina Turner ballad, “What’s Love Got To Do With It” delivers an honest, albeit provocative assertion about human nature. What does this have to do with marketing in the modern era?

Well, at its core, successful marketing is about a brand’s ability to appeal to and connect with our human nature: our psychological and social qualities. Sounds simple enough, but it’s not. The expectations and behavior of the modern-day consumer introduces obstacles that brands must navigate to make and keep that connection with customers. Let’s dive deeper into three primary obstacles facing the modern-day marketer and explain why identity – the definitive “who” and their associated likes, preferences, and profile attributes – is a brand’s single most important navigational tool in connecting with our human nature.

Obstacle #1: The multiplicity of engagement channels

As consumers interact with brands across a growing number of channels, devices and applications, delivering an experience that connects with the customer becomes a more challenging because there are more potential points of failure. The consumer interprets the brand experience equally regardless of whether they are talking to a customer service representative over the phone, shopping on your website, or checking their point balance in a mobile loyalty application. Connecting with the consumer across engagement channels requires a common services approach to identity. Said another way, identity is to multichannel marketing what Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) has meant to software development. Brands that continue to treat identity simply as an artifact of one channel will never realize the full potential for their products and services to connect with me as a consumer.

Identity-Question-Mark #2: The hyper-efficient consumer

Brands under appreciate how much value the modern day consumer places on efficiency. Advancements in technology, the increased velocity of society, and our propensity (human nature) towards instant gratification have made consumers less forgiving of brands that “steal” time and effort from their daily lives. Consumer engagement is being undermined by repetitive tasks such as multiple logins and re-entering basic account information across interactions. Simply put, brands that leverage my identity for the purpose of simplifying and saving my time will be rewarded with my loyalty.

Obstacle #3: The power and peril of big data

Super personalization is the aspirational goal of the modern-day marketer—the ability to turn vast amounts of information about customers into individualized insights to drive proactive, highly personalized experiences and product offers. Identity plays two important roles on the journey to realizing super personalization. First, those insights derived from a consumer’s purchasing history, online behaviors, etc. are only as valuable as a brand’s ability to link those insights to a single, common identity across channels. (See obstacle #1 above.) Second, is the role that identity plays towards ensuring the responsible use of data driven insights. Consumers are now acutely aware that brands are collecting information about them, sometimes very sensitive information. The use of this sensitive customer data requires a set of security controls to avoid breaches that can do irreparable harm to brand equity. Use the data I give you in a responsible way and demonstrate a commitment to safeguarding it, and I will gladly accept your use of that data to drive a more personalized experience for me.

The trends shaping consumer behavior pose both significant challenges and significant opportunities for the brands of today. Data-driven personalization and seamless experiences across touch points are the new competitive differentiators. It’s what customers measure their brand experiences against, and it’s what drives market share, customer loyalty and increased revenue. What’s identity got to do with it? The brands that evolve toward identity-centric business and technology architectures stand to win at the game of acquiring, engaging, and retaining customers.

Learn more about Consumer Identity Management. Download the whitepaper: Identity Crisis? Why Common Consumer Identities are Crucial for Customer-Obsessed Brands

This article originally appeared on the UnboundID Blog and has been republished with permission.