Smart marketers realize that to know the customer, you must be able to recognize them first. And to recognize them, you need identity resolution capabilities.
Identity resolution helps you connect the dots. It is the process of connecting the hundreds of identifiers used by different channels, platforms and devices in near real-time, so marketers and the companies that support them — agencies, technology platforms, data owners and publishers — can tie them all back to the same person with confidence. Doing this in a deterministic, privacy-compliant manner is the only way to enable true people-based targeting, measurement and personalization.
A new report from Forrester Research titled, “The Strategic Role Of Identity Resolution,” offers, in our opinion, one of the most comprehensive overviews of identity resolution to date. Authored by Joe Stanhope, vice president and principal analyst, Forrester’s report does not mince words when it comes to highlighting the importance of this process, stating that “…accurate identity resolution [is] the literal foundation for all marketing activities.” Acxiom is thrilled to see an industry thought leader, like Forrester, bring greater awareness to this foundational capability for people-based marketing.
As a long-time principal proponent for identity resolution, Acxiom was among the select group of companies interviewed for the report, which features three key takeaways:
1. Identity Resolution Is Key For Contextual Marketing
“Identity resolution is a key enabler for contextual marketing by connecting multiple sources of identity and customer information to support robust targeting, personalization, and addressability across touchpoints and devices.”
Without identity resolution, our customers cannot deliver a great customer experience across channels. Relevant marketing—at scale—is impossible without integrating this process into a marketer’s approach.
2. Identity Resolution Is Strategic
“For customer-obsessed marketers, customer recognition in single channels isn’t enough; identity resolution spans every interaction and provides a broad view of the customer, creating the strategic foundation for cross-channel marketing.”
Identity resolution offers numerous advantages to the marketer. LiveRamp’s recent industry study found marketers who do not work with an identity resolution vendor are nearly three times less confident at recognizing consumers in digital channels than marketers who do.
3. Identity Resolution Is A Process
“Implementing an identity resolution strategy requires planning, development, and management of an ongoing process that incorporates data collection, integration, and distribution for marketing applications.”
To recognize consumers wherever they encounter them, marketers need to connect a lot of dots across the marketing stack. It is not a switch you can flip—it requires a thoughtful approach with a long-term view.
As the company that pioneered identity resolution in the offline world over four decades ago, Acxiom has a deep history in this field. AbiliTec™ has been the leading identity and recognition system within the industry for over a decade, providing marketers with match technology, proven against 45 years of historical consumer data. It helps marketers overcome outdated or incomplete information by enabling instant customer recognition and record linking across channels. Just last month, LiveRamp, an Acxiom company, launched IdentityLink™, its identity resolution service to power people-based marketing across the ecosystem.
Acxiom believes identity resolution will play a pivotal role in elevating the industry beyond multichannel marketing to seamless omnichannel marketing. Rick Erwin, president of Acxiom’s Audience Solutions Division, has said that “omnichannel marketing is only achieved if a consumer is accurately recognized, regardless of channel.” Indeed, the ultimate goal for channel marketing is to simply become “marketing” and make the channels disappear.
Acxiom Director of Product Management Lisa Rapp and LiveRamp CMO Jeff Smith recently spoke about this very topic at the DMA’s annual event in Los Angeles. Consumers don’t think of their interactions with brands in terms of channels, but as experiences. Marketers only live in channels because technological limitations force them to, but eventually they won’t have to, and identity resolution will be a key reason why.
Marketers must develop an identity resolution strategy. Identity resolution is the connective tissue for contextual marketing; it provides basic access to accurate information for day-to-day analysis and marketing activities, but strategically it is a proxy for the customer, forming the DNA for customer obsession that binds data, systems, content, and experiences together. This is not just Acxiom’s viewpoint — it’s Forrester’s recommendation for all B2C marketers.