Enterprise Identity Resolution Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide

You think omnichannel marketing is challenging now? You haven’t seen anything yet. According to Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Index, the average American is on pace to own about 13 connected or networked devices by 2022 as wearables, AI-powered speakers, interactive televisions and smart home products will become fixtures of everyday life.

And consumers are going to expect — scratch that, demand — contextually relevant, individualized brand interactions across each and every one of those devices.

“Forrester Research found that nearly three quarters of consumers react negatively to inconsistencies in brand experiences across devices,” states Enterprise Identity Resolution Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide, a new research report published by MarTech Today. “In today’s competitive environment, it is essential that brand marketers understand which online devices and offline behaviors belong to a consumer, as well as who that consumer is.”

Which is why identity resolution technology integrating customer identifiers across channels and devices to create a persistent and addressable individual profile “has become critical to marketing success,” MarTech Today says. Marketers agree: Advertising and marketing consultancy Winterberry Group forecasts investment in identity resolution will nearly triple from $900 million in 2018 to $2.6 billion by 2022, with an emphasis on creating 360-degree customer views powering more targeted and hyper-personalized brand messaging.

Identity resolution also promises to help marketers overcome hurdles including existing and forthcoming data privacy legislation like the General Data Privacy Regulation (which went into effect in May 2018) and the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (which goes into effect in January 2020), MarTech Today notes.

“Identity resolution software enables brands to know with confidence who their customers are and reduces the risk of privacy compliance violations,” the report says. “As the lynchpin to a customer-centric strategy, identity resolution allows marketers to more accurately target and personalize brand messages to create more engaging and profitable customer experiences.”

Enterprise Identity Resolution Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide addresses these fundamentals of identity implementation and much more, spotlighting leading vendor players in the space and summarizing which capabilities their respective platforms provide. Some key takeaways from MarTech Today’s research:

  • While the majority of vendors profiled in the report provide persistent customer IDs during the identity resolution process (i.e., the ID follows the individual even as identifiers inevitably change), matching algorithms differ among providers. Some establish matches via deterministic methods, which rely on explicit links between identifiers, such as an email address that is used to sign in to a website or mobile app. Probabilistic matching, on the other hand, relies on implicit links between identifiers, for example a desktop cookie and mobile advertising ID both associated with a residential IP address. Some vendors establish matches using both deterministic and probabilistic methods, MarTech Today adds.
  • Although many vendors provide their overall match rates to potential clients, a few go further. For example, “addressability is a factor that can help marketers measure their match accuracy by assessing the number of consumers that can actually be contacted,” MarTech Today explains.
  • Most, but not all, identity resolution platform vendors featured in the report allow enterprise brands to retain ownership of their first-party data. Similarly, identity vendors are in varying stages of compliance with the range of regulations that safeguard customer data privacy.

MarTech Today says that determining the best identity vendor fit for your particular organization hinges on first understanding your company’s business needs, staff capabilities, management support and financial resources. “From there, you can make an informed decision that will provide long-term benefits to your customers and your entire organization.”

And if you think your brand doesn’t need identity resolution, think again.

“Regardless of how well designed or executed your marketing organization’s customer insights, attribution models or media messages are, if you don’t serve the right ad or product recommendation to the right customer on the right channel at the right time, your results will never justify your investments,” MarTech Today concludes. “Identity resolution is now one of the top five marketing technologies every brand should include in its technology stack, according to Forrester Research, and with good reason.”

Download Enterprise Identity Resolution Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide here.

Originally published March 11, 2019

Jason Ankeny

Jason Ankeny was formerly Signal's Director of Content Marketing.

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