I recently read a very thought provoking article by Alec - " Hankering for a world without identity or federation". Also, a lovely follow-up article on the same topic by Andriana. Also, there's a nice comment by Christopher Carfi on the same topic.
These articles raised serious questions in my mind about how marketers, in the future, will have to build conversations with customers without identity. The key issue raised in my head was - increasingly as more and more get customers get online or mobile( in developing markets like India, China and the like) they would like to control their identity & conversations with brands. I presume things like DNPC( Do Not Place Cookies), DNL( Do not link ads(without permission)), DNT(Do Not tag along - SMSs )etc. will increasingly gain importance.
At the same time , these mediums are also being used for transactions and purchases more and more. Many of these articles talk about protecting identity but when you combine identity with transactional information, interests in various social networks,memberships in certain sites etc.- it provides a new dimension in building conversations with customers.Marketers will need to use data from multiple sources -in real time- to understand customers, get into their inner circle by really being valuable to their lives not just providing or sending a marketing messages. Also, identities need to be confirmed from multiple sources of paths from where customers come. There is a nice diagram from Adriana that I have picked-up which brings this point alive:
The key challenges and the winners of tomorrow will be the ones who are able to build conversations without identities.