5 layers of customer identity

Understanding the true identity of customers is integral to digital marketing success.

Here are five layers that make up a customer's identity, how to capture this information, and how to use it to improve customer engagement.

1. What makes you what you are

The first layer includes observable characteristics, like height and eye colour. It also includes demographic information, such as where you live, how much money you make, and how many people you live with.

2 What actions you take

Actions are the things that you do, and the actions you take are the next layer of identity. Actions more accurately reflect who you are because they are instigated and directed by the individual. Actions are a core component of identity because no one else can decide your actions for you.

3. What you care about

Actions are borne out of the things you care about and thus make up the next layer of identity. Most of the time, you do things you care about (like reading to your child), and you don’t do things you don’t care about (like flossing). What you care about drives what actions you take, so it is a deeper, more significant part of identity.

>See also: Why identity and privacy rule on the road to digital transformation

4. What you believe in

The next layer of identity is based on your beliefs. With beliefs, we start to see a very fundamental level of identity that is almost unchanged throughout our lives. What you believe in is formed by the cultural institutions you participate in and the narrative you tell yourself about your own life.

5. What your values are

At the core of identity is the notion of values. Your values are built and reinforced by all of the other layers of identity, and they drive your actions and decisions, consciously or unconsciously.

As marketers look deeper into customer identities, a richer, more meaningful set of marketing tactics becomes apparent.


This article is sourced from Russell Loarridge, EMEA managing director at Janrain. Janrain is a customer identity management platform on the cloud. It helps companies build a unified view of their customers across all devices by collecting accurate customer profile data to power personalised marketing. 

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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