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24 questions to ask identity resolution vendors during a demo

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24 questions to ask identity resolution vendors during a demo

An identity resolution platform can be a key tool to enable brand marketers to understand with confidence who their customers are and how to comply with the increasing patchwork of consumer privacy regulations. But how do you decide which platform is the right one for your organization?

For starters, once you have determined that enterprise identity resolution software makes sense for your business, spend time researching individual vendors and their capabilities by doing the following:

  1. Create and prioritize your list of identity resolution use cases, from essential to not necessary.
  2. Take your list of use cases and then do some research. Many of the vendors profiled in this report also provide blogs, e-books and interactive tools that can help.
  3. Make a list of the vendors that meet your criteria. Reach out to them and set a deadline for replies.
  4. Decide whether or not you need to engage in a formal RFI/RFP process. This is an individual preference, however, so be sure to give the same criteria to each vendor to facilitate comparison.

Explore platform capabilities from vendors like Acxiom, Experian, Infutor, Merkle and more in the full MarTech Intelligence Report on identity resolution platforms.

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Once you have moved beyond those steps, begin reaching out for demonstrations. You want to set up demos within a relatively short timeframe of each other to help make relevant comparisons. Make sure that all potential internal users are on the demo call and pay attention to how easy the platform is to use, whether the vendor seems to understand our business and marketing needs, and whether they are showing your “must-have” features?

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To further help you out, here is a list of 24 questions you can ask:

  1. Does the platform support first-party data onboarding?
  2. Can we incorporate any of our private customer IDs into the platform?
  3. Do you use a probabilistic, deterministic or hybrid approach to matching?
  4. How do you validate the accuracy of your deterministic matches?
  5. What match rate can we expect, given our vertical market and database size?
  6. How do you comply with privacy regulations and consumer choice?
  7. Do you own or license your referential identity data?
  8. What are your identity data sources?
  9. How do you validate the quality of your identity graph?
  10. How much of your data is addressable?
  11. How is your identity graph linked to offline PII?
  12. Do your identity capabilities apply to non-U.S. markets?
  13. How does the platform integrate with martech platforms (i.e., CRMsDSPsCDPs)?
  14. Does the platform feature any built-in data activation capabilities (i.e., personalized email or ad campaign execution)?
  15. Do you have APIs available for data import/export?
  16. What reporting do you provide that will document the ROI from our identity efforts?
  17. What kind of customer support is included? Can we pick up the phone to report problems?
  18. Will we have a dedicated account manager and technical support?
  19. Do you offer a proof-of-concept to measure potential performance and scale?
  20. Do you provide a self-service option in which we can manage identity data?
  21. What kind of professional services are available? And how much do they cost?
  22. How does the company handle requests for product modifications?
  23. What new features are you considering?
  24. What are the long-term roadmap and launch dates?
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Good luck!


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Identity resolution platforms: A snapshot

What it is. Identity resolution is the science of connecting the growing volume of consumer identifiers to one individual as he or she interacts across channels and devices.

What the tools do. Identity resolution technology connects those identifiers to one individual. It draws this valuable data from the various channels and devices customers interact with, such as connected speakers, home management solutions, smart TVs, and wearable devices. It’s an important tool as the number of devices connected to IP networks is expected to climb to more than three times the global population by 2023, according to the Cisco Annual Internet Report.

Why it’s hot now. More people expect relevant brand experiences across each stage of their buying journeys. One-size-fits-all marketing doesn’t work; buyers know what information sellers should have and how they should use it. Also, inaccurate targeting wastes campaign spending and fails to generate results.

This is why investment in identity resolution programs is growing among brand marketers. These technologies also ensure their activities stay in line with privacy regulations.

Why we care. The most successful digital marketing strategies rely on knowing your potential customer. Knowing what they’re interested in, what they’ve purchased before — even what demographic group they belong to — is essential.

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Read next: What is identity resolution and how are platforms adapting to privacy changes?


About The Author

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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MARKETING

B2B customer journeys that begin at review sites are significantly shorter

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B2B customer journeys that begin at review sites are significantly shorter

The B2B customer journey can be a long one, especially when the purchase of expensive software subscriptions is under consideration.

“The average B2B customer journey takes 192 days from anonymous first touch to won,” according to Dreamdata in their 2022 B2B Go-to-Market Benchmarks — a statistic described by co-founder and CMO Steffen Hedebrandt as “alarming.”

But the report also indicates that this journey can be significantly sped up — by as much as 63% — if accounts begin their research at software review sites, gathering information and opinions from their peers. Journeys that originate at a review site often lead to deals of higher value too.

Fragmented data on the customer journey. Dreamdata is a B2B go-to-market platform. In any B2B company, explained Hedebrandt, there are typically 10 or even 20 data silos that contain fragments of the customer journey. Website visits, white paper downloads, social media interactions, webinar or meeting attendance, demos, and of course intent data from review site visits — this data doesn’t typically sit in one place within an organization.

“We built an account-based data model because we believe that there’s such a thing as an account journey and not an individual journey,” said Hedebrandt. “So if there are two, three or five people representing an account, which is typically what you see in B2B, all of these touches get mapped into the same timeline.”

Among those many touches is the intent data sourced from software review site G2. Dreamdata has an integration with G2 and a G2 dashboard allowing visualization of G2-generated intent data. This includes filtering prospects who are early in their journey, who have not yet discovered the customer’s product, or who have discovered it but are still searching. This creates a basis for attributing pipelines, conversions and revenue to the activity.

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“Strategically, our ideal customer profile is a B2B software-as-a-service company,” said Hedenbrandt. “B2B SaaS companies are particularly ripe for understanding this digital customer journey; their main investment is in digital marketing, they have a salesforce that use software tools to do this inside sales model; and they also deliver their product digitally as well.” What’s more, it takes twice as long to close SaaS deal as it does to close deals with B2B commercial and professional services companies.

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Read next: A look at the tech review space

The Benchmarks findings. The conclusions of the 2022 Benchmarks report is based on aggregated, anonymized data from more than 400 Dreamdata user accounts. Focusing on first-touch attribution (from their multi-touch model), Dreamdata found that customer journeys where a review site is the first touch are 63% shorter than the average. In contrast, where the first touch channel is social, the journey is much longer than average (217%); it’s the same when paid media is the first touch (155%).

As the Benchmarks report suggests, this may well mean that social is targeting prospects that are just not in-market. It makes sense that activity on a review site is a better predictor of intent.

Hedenbrandt underlines the importance of treating the specific figures with caution. “It’s not complete science what we’ve done,” he admits, “but it’s real data from 400 accounts, so it’s not going to be completely off. You can only spend your time once, and at least from what we can see here it’s better to spend your time collecting reviews than writing another Facebook update.”

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While Dreamdata highlights use of G2, Hedenbrandt readily concedes that competitor software review sites might reasonably be expected to show similar effects. “Definitely I would expect it to be similar.”

Why we care. It’s not news that B2B buyers researching software purchases use review sites and that those sites gather and trade in the intent data generated. Software vendors encourage users to post reviews. There has been a general assumption that a large number of hopefully positive reviews is a good thing to have.


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What Dreamdata’s findings indicate is that the effect of review sites on the buyer journey — especially as the first-touch channel — can be quantified and a value placed on it. “None of us questioned the value of reviews, but during this process you can actually map it into a customer journey where you can see the journey started from G2, then flowed into sales meetings, website visits, ads, etc. Then we can also join the deal value to the intent that started from G2.”

Likely, this is also another example of B2B learning from B2C. People looking at high consideration B2C purchases are now accustomed to seeking advice both from friends and from online reviews. The same goes for SaaS purchases, Hedenbrandt suggests: “More people are turning to sites like G2 to understand whether this is a trustworthy vendor or not. The more expensive it is, the more validation you want to see.”


About The Author

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Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

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He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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