It’s a transitional time for brand marketing as trust issues, digital reliance and transactional communications continue to warp the communications landscape. This new research from cross-device digital identity resolution firm Tapad evaluates the current state of customer data-driven marketing, and explores how marketers can use identity solutions to deliver privacy safe and engaging experiences in an evolving data landscape.
The firm’s newly released study, in partnership with Forrester Consulting, highlights the changing ground rules for digital marketing—and the threat it poses to marketers’ ability to deliver against long standing KPIs and campaign goals. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of respondents said that the forces of data deprecation will have a significant (40 percent) or critical (21 percent) impact on their marketing strategies over the next two years.
Among those surveyed, identity resolution strategies have surfaced as an opportunity to create more powerful customer experiences, with 66 percent aiming to have it help improve customer trust and implement more ethical data collection and use practices, while nearly 60 percent believe it will point the way to more effective personalization and data management practices.
Although organizations are eager to implement identity resolution strategies, a complex web of solutions and partners makes execution a challenge
For example, respondents report using at least eight identity solutions on average, across nearly six vendor partners, and they expect that fragmentation to persist in the “cookieless” future. Additionally, brands’ identity resolution technologies typically represent a patchwork of homegrown and commercial solutions. Eighty-one percent of respondents use both in-house and commercial identity resolution tools today, and 47 percent use a near-equal blend of the two.
Despite the challenges, many brands have the foundation for a strong identity resolution strategy in place, and they are thriving as a result. Specifically, more mature brands were 79 percent more successful at improving privacy safeguards to reduce regulatory and compliance risk, 247 percent more successful at improving marketing ROI, and over four times more effective at improving customer trust compared to their low-maturity peers.
Additional insights include:
Marketers are increasingly playing a key strategic role within the organization, but there is a mandate to demonstrate value
Nearly three-quarters of respondents in our study agree the marketing function is more strategically important to their organization than it used to be, while almost two-thirds agree there’s more pressure than ever to prove the ROI or business performance of their activities.
Consumers expect brands to deliver engaging experiences across highly fragmented journeys
The research found that 72 percent of respondents agree that customers demand more relevant, personalized experiences at the time and place of their choosing. At the same time, 67 percent of respondents recognize that customer purchase journeys take place over more touchpoints and channels than ever, and 59 percent of respondents agree that those journeys are less predictable and linear than they once were.
Marketing runs on data, but the rules governing customer data usage are ever-evolving
According to the study, 70 percent of decision-makers agree that consumer data is the lifeblood of their marketing strategies—fueling the personalized, omnichannel experiences customers demand. At the same time, 69 percent of respondents recognize that customers are increasingly aware of how their data is being used. At least two-thirds agree that data deprecation, including tighter restrictions on data use (66 percent), as well as operating system and browser changes impacting third-party cookies (68 percent) means that legacy marketing strategies are unlikely to remain viable in the long-term.
“Our latest survey findings give us a better understanding of how our customers and other companies around the world are trying to master the relationship between people, their data and their devices,” said Mark Connon, general manager at Tapad, in a news release. “This research shows why it’s fundamental for the industry to continuously work to develop solutions that are agnostic. Tapad has worked tirelessly to deliver on this with our Tapad Graph, and by introducing solutions like Switchboard to help the evolving ecosystem and in turn helping customers reap the benefits of better identity in both short and long-term.”
The study is founded on an online survey of over 300 decision-makers at global brands and agencies, which was fielded from March to April, 2021. Data deprecation and identity are fast-developing, moving targets, so this study delivers targeted insights and recommendations for how to prepare for coming shifts in customer data strategies—whether they manifest tomorrow or a year from now.