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

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

Identity resolution – the science of connecting the growing volume of consumer identifiers to one individual as he or she interacts across channels and devices – has become critical to marketing success, as well as essential for compliance with consumer privacy laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Central to that are identity resolution platforms, which is software that integrates consumer identifiers across channels and devices in a way that is accurate, scalable and privacy compliant to create a persistent and addressable individual profile. Identity resolution platforms enable marketers to “close the loop” of customer marketing, analytics and compliance with a comprehensive holistic view of activity across all of an organization’s customer touchpoints and channels. Such identifiers can and should encompass both online (device, email, cookie or mobile ad ID) and offline (name, address, phone number) data signals and attributes.



Why do marketers need identity resolution platforms?

Consumer adoption of connected speakers, home automation solutions, smart TVs and wearables continues to rise exponentially. The number of devices connected to IP networks is projected to climb to more than three times the global population by 2023, with 3.6 networked devices per capita, according to the Cisco Annual Internet Report, 2018-2023.

In this 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. Every time a consumer interacts with the brand – regardless of channel – a different identifier (also called a key) can be attributed to that individual. These identifiers can include an email, IP or physical address, as well as a mobile phone number, digital tag or cookie.

However, accurately resolving consumer identities has proved challenging for a majority of brand marketers. Forrester found that a majority of C-level executives overrate their marketing organization’s customer identity accuracy and persistence.

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That challenge promises to become even more difficult as tech companies make changes that essentially deprecate third-party cookies — one of the key identifiers that has been used to stitch identity data together. Google has announced plans to phase out third-party cookies in its Chrome browser in late-2023. Apple has similar plans for IDFA, its identifier for advertisers, requiring users to opt into the program. At this point, only 20% of iOS users have opted to enable it, further highlighting consumer preferences for privacy.


What is identity resolution and how are platforms adapting to

Identity resolution is not only critical to marketing success but is essential for compliance with consumer privacy laws such as CCPA and GDPR. Explore the platforms essential to identity resolution in the latest edition of this MarTech Intelligence Report.

Click here to download!


What identity resolution platforms do

Identity resolution platforms support marketing processes around targeting, measurement and personalization for both known and anonymous audiences across digital and offline channels. And most enterprise identity resolution platform vendors offer the following core features and capabilities:

  • Data onboarding (including online/offline matching).
  • Proprietary identity graph.
  • Client ownership of first-party data.
  • Persistent individual and/or household ID.
  • Compliance with privacy regulations.
  • APIs for third-party system integration.

Vendors begin to differentiate their platforms by offering more advanced features, sometimes requiring additional investment, which include – but are not limited to – the following:

  • Match confidence scoring.
  • Data clean rooms.
  • Private (first-party) and/or second-party cooperative identity graphs.
  • Pre-built connections to martech/ad tech platforms.

Let’s look deeper at these platform capabilities.

Data onboarding

Data onboarding is the first step in the identity resolution process. Client data is typically onboarded via secure file transfer (SFTP), although several vendors also provide direct API transfer or pixel syncs. Data is processed with the goal of establishing a universal view of the customer and includes the following:

  • Matching individual identifiers in the identity graph (see below) to associate the customer with their interactions across touchpoints, particularly online to offline.
  • Suppressing unresolved IDs and interaction data for potential future use.
  • Hashing or tokenizing personally identifiable information (PII) with an anonymized customer ID.
  • Linking matched IDs to a universal ID representing the customer profile and all of its associated attributes.
  • Validating the accuracy of matches to a pre-established “truth set” of referential data known to be precise and accurate.

Most vendors provide persistent customer IDs during the identity resolution process, which means the ID follows the individual (or household) even as identifiers change, which they inevitably do. For example, when browser cookies expire or are deleted or customers buy and use new devices, the customer ID will remain the same. Persistence is also critical to enabling temporal time-series analytics, such as churn analytics. Matching algorithms differ among vendors, with matches established via probabilistic or deterministic methods or a combination of both. Deterministic matching relies on explicit links between identifiers, such as an email address that is used to sign in to a website or mobile app and can be associated with the resulting cookie or mobile ad ID (MAID). Probabilistic matching relies on implicit links between identifiers, such as a desktop cookie and MAID both associated with a residential IP address. The goal is to consider multiple signals like location and browsing history.

Both approaches have their pros and cons, which should be considered when choosing an identity resolution platform. Deterministic matching takes an omnichannel view that attempts to connect identifiers across digital and offline interactions. It can be difficult to scale and prone to inaccuracy. Probabilistic matching can “weed out” inaccurate data because it looks at a variety of data points versus binary matches. Its drawback is that it is limited to online touchpoints. Some vendors are using hybrid identity resolution approaches, which try to compensate for deterministic and probabilistic weaknesses while capitalizing on their advantages. It uses deterministic and probabilistic linkages, and then merges the two linkage sets together to form new, combined clusters.

Many vendors provide their overall match rates to potential clients. A few vendors go a step further, providing clients with customizable match algorithms or confidence scores (how likely the matches are accurate) based on their specific first-party customer data and data quality profiles. For example, a pure online organization may rarely use postal addresses and is likely to have lower-quality address data than an organization that relies on fulfillment to a physical shipping address. Addressability is another factor that can help marketers measure their match accuracy by assessing the number of consumers that can actually be contacted.

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Identity graph

Most identity resolution vendors maintain a proprietary identity graph or database that houses all the known identifiers that correlate with individual consumers. There is no standard model for an identity graph. Each vendor differs in the types of foundational PII used, the matching methods employed and the non-PII integrated to enrich the individual profiles. Across the buyer’s journey, many identifiers can be associated with an individual, including email addresses, physical addresses, landline and mobile phone numbers, mobile ad and device IDs, account usernames and loyalty numbers. The identity graph collects these identifiers and links them to customer profiles, which are used to target and personalize marketing messages.

Identity graphs may also incorporate demographic, behavioral, financial, lifestyle, purchase and other data compiled or licensed from third-party sources, such as online news sites, purchase transactions, surveys, email service providers (ESPs), motor vehicle records, voter registration and other public records. Having all of this customer device, channel and behavioral data in one place allows brand marketers to more accurately measure the reach and frequency of their campaigns, and analyze how different ads and marketing tactics perform across channels.

In response to the dwindling availability of third-party cookie data and the increasing use of consumer privacy tools, such as advertising and location blocking apps, several identity resolution platform vendors are offering new identity graphs built on first-party or second-party datasets. First-party identity graphs are exclusively used by a brand to house and match known customer data. Second-party identity graphs use cooperative data-sharing agreements between multiple brands or publishers to create common, anonymized identity assets.

Participating organizations can build, plan, activate and measure custom audience pools to either target or suppress customers across addressable media.

Privacy compliance and data ownership

Marketers with customers in the European Union have had to comply with GDPR since May 2018. The CCPA, impacting all brands with customers residing in California, went into effect in January 2020, and empowers consumers to make a Subject Access Request to see all the data an organization has about them, which raises the stakes of identity resolution match accuracy. CCPA defines personal information as anything that can be associated or linked with an individual or household.

Marketers in the highly regulated healthcare market must follow Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) regulations. In addition, all organizations that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information must maintain a secure environment that meets Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), as well.

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These regulations are driving an expanded industry focus on data transparency and consumer consent, with a view toward complying with new standards for the benefit of consumers, as well as marketers. Many identity resolution platform vendors adhere to advertising industry guidelines from the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) or Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Lastly, and importantly, the majority of vendors profiled generally allow enterprise brands to retain ownership of their first-party data.

Third-party software integration

The ultimate marketing goal for identity resolution is to support and enable data activation by pushing segmented audiences into highly personalized campaigns through a variety of martech (CRMs, DMPs, marketing automation platforms, ESPs, etc.) and ad tech (DSPs, SSPs, ad exchanges, etc.) tools and platforms. Identity resolution platforms should be able to streamline integration with the client’s martech and ad tech ecosystems by providing pre-built (or native) connections and an extensive set of APIs for custom integrations. Access to these APIs may or may not be included in base pricing.


What is identity resolution and how are platforms adapting toWhat is identity resolution and how are platforms adapting to

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

Click here to download!


The benefits of using identity resolution platforms

Connecting consumer identifiers has become a mandate for enterprise marketers trying to meet and exceed customer expectations for a consistent and personalized brand experience.

Automating the process with an identity resolution platform can provide the following benefits:

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  • Deeper customer insights. Piecing together data signals from multiple data sources and interactions enables marketers to build more robust customer profiles. Knowing the customer at a more granular level can help drive rich customer insights that enhance campaign targeting, personalization and relevance.
  • Personalization accuracy. Better personalization is a primary marketing use case for many identity resolution platforms, which create a consistent set of identifiers to fuel personalized interactions. If you don’t know with confidence who your customer is, you can’t personalize your messages or experiences.
  • More seamless customer experiences. Automated identity resolution allows marketing organizations to create a unified view of customers, which can be communicated and deployed across brands, business units and product lines. Recognizing customers across every step of the customer journey reduces waste by eliminating duplicate contacts, and enhances their experiences by enabling interactions in the right channel at the right time.
  • Stronger privacy Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC). Effective identity resolution supports your organization’s commitment to data governance and, ultimately, consumer trust in your brand. Using an identity resolution platform makes customer preference management (including opting out), as well as regulatory and corporate policy compliance easier and more comprehensive.
  • Enhanced cross-channel attribution and campaign tracking. Persistent IDs that identify customers (both known and anonymous) across channels enables more accurate, closed-loop measurement and multi-touch attribution.
  • Improved marketing ROI. Identity graphs reduce data overlap and duplication, resulting in more efficient spending on campaigns that work. Conversely, not knowing who your customers are leads to misidentifying them and engaging in ways they may perceive to be intrusive or irrelevant.

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.

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


About The Author

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Does your marketing team need a digital experience platform DXPDoes your marketing team need a digital experience platform DXP

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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Ecommerce evolution: Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C

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Ecommerce evolution: Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C

Understanding convergence 

B2B and B2C ecommerce are two distinct models of online selling. B2B ecommerce is between businesses, such as wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers. B2C ecommerce refers to transactions between businesses like retailers and consumer brands, directly to individual shoppers. 

However, in recent years, the boundaries between these two models have started to fade. This is known as the convergence between B2B and B2C ecommerce and how they are becoming more similar and integrated. 

Source: White Paper: The evolution of the B2B Consumer Buyer (ClientPoint, Jan 2024)

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What’s driving this change? 

Ever increasing customer expectations  

Customers today expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization in their B2B transactions as they do in their B2C interactions. B2B buyers are increasingly influenced by their B2C experiences. They want research, compare, and purchase products online, seamlessly transitioning between devices and channels.  They also prefer to research and purchase online, using multiple devices and channels.

Forrester, 68% of buyers prefer to research on their own, online . Customers today expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization in their B2B transactions as they do in their B2C interactions. B2B buyers are increasingly influenced by their B2C experiences. They want research, compare, and purchase products online, seamlessly transitioning between devices and channels.  They also prefer to research and purchase online, using multiple devices and channels

Technology and omnichannel strategies

Technology enables B2B and B2C ecommerce platforms to offer more features and functionalities, such as mobile optimization, chatbots, AI, and augmented reality. Omnichannel strategies allow B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to provide a seamless and consistent customer experience across different touchpoints, such as websites, social media, email, and physical stores. 

However, with every great leap forward comes its own set of challenges. The convergence of B2B and B2C markets means increased competition.  Businesses now not only have to compete with their traditional rivals, but also with new entrants and disruptors from different sectors. For example, Amazon Business, a B2B ecommerce platform, has become a major threat to many B2B ecommerce businesses, as it offers a wide range of products, low prices, and fast delivery

“Amazon Business has proven that B2B ecommerce can leverage popular B2C-like functionality” argues Joe Albrecht, CEO / Managing Partner, Xngage. . With features like Subscribe-and-Save (auto-replenishment), one-click buying, and curated assortments by job role or work location, they make it easy for B2B buyers to go to their website and never leave. Plus, with exceptional customer service and promotional incentives like Amazon Business Prime Days, they have created a reinforcing loyalty loop.

And yet, according to Barron’s, Amazon Business is only expected to capture 1.5% of the $5.7 Trillion addressable business market by 2025. If other B2B companies can truly become digital-first organizations, they can compete and win in this fragmented space, too.” 

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If other B2B companies can truly become digital-first organizations, they can also compete and win in this fragmented space

Joe Albrecht
CEO/Managing Partner, XNGAGE

Increasing complexity 

Another challenge is the increased complexity and cost of managing a converging ecommerce business. Businesses have to deal with different customer segments, requirements, and expectations, which may require different strategies, processes, and systems. For instance, B2B ecommerce businesses may have to handle more complex transactions, such as bulk orders, contract negotiations, and invoicing, while B2C ecommerce businesses may have to handle more customer service, returns, and loyalty programs. Moreover, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses must invest in technology and infrastructure to support their convergence efforts, which may increase their operational and maintenance costs. 

How to win

Here are a few ways companies can get ahead of the game:

Adopt B2C-like features in B2B platforms

User-friendly design, easy navigation, product reviews, personalization, recommendations, and ratings can help B2B ecommerce businesses to attract and retain more customers, as well as to increase their conversion and retention rates.  

According to McKinsey, ecommerce businesses that offer B2C-like features like personalization can increase their revenues by 15% and reduce their costs by 20%. You can do this through personalization of your website with tools like Product Recommendations that help suggest related products to increase sales. 

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Focus on personalization and customer experience

B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to understand their customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors, and tailor their offerings and interactions accordingly. Personalization and customer experience can help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, as well as to improve their brand reputation and competitive advantage. According to a Salesforce report, 88% of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services.

Related: Redefining personalization for B2B commerce

Market based on customer insights

Data and analytics can help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to gain insights into their customers, markets, competitors, and performance, and to optimize their strategies and operations accordingly. Data and analytics can also help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to identify new opportunities, trends, and innovations, and to anticipate and respond to customer needs and expectations. According to McKinsey, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain customers, and 19 times more likely to be profitable. 

What’s next? 

The convergence of B2B and B2C ecommerce is not a temporary phenomenon, but a long-term trend that will continue to shape the future of ecommerce. According to Statista, the global B2B ecommerce market is expected to reach $20.9 trillion by 2027, surpassing the B2C ecommerce market, which is expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2027. Moreover, the report predicts that the convergence of B2B and B2C ecommerce will create new business models, such as B2B2C, B2A (business to anyone), and C2B (consumer to business). 

Therefore, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to prepare for the converging ecommerce landscape and take advantage of the opportunities and challenges it presents. Here are some recommendations for B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to navigate the converging landscape: 

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of your customers, competitors, and market, and identify the gaps and opportunities for convergence. 
  • Develop a clear vision and strategy for convergence, and align your goals, objectives, and metrics with it. 
  • Invest in technology and infrastructure that can support your convergence efforts, such as cloud, mobile, AI, and omnichannel platforms. 
  • Implement B2C-like features in your B2B platforms, and vice versa, to enhance your customer experience and satisfaction.
  • Personalize your offerings and interactions with your customers, and provide them with relevant and valuable content and solutions.
  • Leverage data and analytics to optimize your performance and decision making, and to innovate and differentiate your business.
  • Collaborate and partner with other B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses, as well as with other stakeholders, such as suppliers, distributors, and customers, to create value and synergy.
  • Monitor and evaluate your convergence efforts, and adapt and improve them as needed. 

By following these recommendations, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses can bridge the gap between their models and create a more integrated and seamless ecommerce experience for their customers and themselves. 

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Streamlining Processes for Increased Efficiency and Results

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Streamlining Processes for Increased Efficiency and Results

How can businesses succeed nowadays when technology rules?  With competition getting tougher and customers changing their preferences often, it’s a challenge. But using marketing automation can help make things easier and get better results. And in the future, it’s going to be even more important for all kinds of businesses.

So, let’s discuss how businesses can leverage marketing automation to stay ahead and thrive.

Benefits of automation marketing automation to boost your efforts

First, let’s explore the benefits of marketing automation to supercharge your efforts:

 Marketing automation simplifies repetitive tasks, saving time and effort.

With automated workflows, processes become more efficient, leading to better productivity. For instance, automation not only streamlines tasks like email campaigns but also optimizes website speed, ensuring a seamless user experience. A faster website not only enhances customer satisfaction but also positively impacts search engine rankings, driving more organic traffic and ultimately boosting conversions.

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Automation allows for precise targeting, reaching the right audience with personalized messages.

With automated workflows, processes become more efficient, leading to better productivity. A great example of automated workflow is Pipedrive & WhatsApp Integration in which an automated welcome message pops up on their WhatsApp

within seconds once a potential customer expresses interest in your business.

Increases ROI

By optimizing campaigns and reducing manual labor, automation can significantly improve return on investment.

Leveraging automation enables businesses to scale their marketing efforts effectively, driving growth and success. Additionally, incorporating lead scoring into automated marketing processes can streamline the identification of high-potential prospects, further optimizing resource allocation and maximizing conversion rates.

Harnessing the power of marketing automation can revolutionize your marketing strategy, leading to increased efficiency, higher returns, and sustainable growth in today’s competitive market. So, why wait? Start automating your marketing efforts today and propel your business to new heights, moreover if you have just learned ways on how to create an online business

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How marketing automation can simplify operations and increase efficiency

Understanding the Change

Marketing automation has evolved significantly over time, from basic email marketing campaigns to sophisticated platforms that can manage entire marketing strategies. This progress has been fueled by advances in technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, making automation smarter and more adaptable.

One of the main reasons for this shift is the vast amount of data available to marketers today. From understanding customer demographics to analyzing behavior, the sheer volume of data is staggering. Marketing automation platforms use this data to create highly personalized and targeted campaigns, allowing businesses to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

The Emergence of AI-Powered Automation

In the future, AI-powered automation will play an even bigger role in marketing strategies. AI algorithms can analyze huge amounts of data in real-time, helping marketers identify trends, predict consumer behavior, and optimize campaigns as they go. This agility and responsiveness are crucial in today’s fast-moving digital world, where opportunities come and go in the blink of an eye. For example, we’re witnessing the rise of AI-based tools from AI website builders, to AI logo generators and even more, showing that we’re competing with time and efficiency.

Combining AI-powered automation with WordPress management services streamlines marketing efforts, enabling quick adaptation to changing trends and efficient management of online presence.

Moreover, AI can take care of routine tasks like content creation, scheduling, and testing, giving marketers more time to focus on strategic activities. By automating these repetitive tasks, businesses can work more efficiently, leading to better outcomes. AI can create social media ads tailored to specific demographics and preferences, ensuring that the content resonates with the target audience. With the help of an AI ad maker tool, businesses can efficiently produce high-quality advertisements that drive engagement and conversions across various social media platforms.

Personalization on a Large Scale

Personalization has always been important in marketing, and automation is making it possible on a larger scale. By using AI and machine learning, marketers can create tailored experiences for each customer based on their preferences, behaviors, and past interactions with the brand.  

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This level of personalization not only boosts customer satisfaction but also increases engagement and loyalty. When consumers feel understood and valued, they are more likely to become loyal customers and brand advocates. As automation technology continues to evolve, we can expect personalization to become even more advanced, enabling businesses to forge deeper connections with their audience.  As your company has tiny homes for sale California, personalized experiences will ensure each customer finds their perfect fit, fostering lasting connections.

Integration Across Channels

Another trend shaping the future of marketing automation is the integration of multiple channels into a cohesive strategy. Today’s consumers interact with brands across various touchpoints, from social media and email to websites and mobile apps. Marketing automation platforms that can seamlessly integrate these channels and deliver consistent messaging will have a competitive edge. When creating a comparison website it’s important to ensure that the platform effectively aggregates data from diverse sources and presents it in a user-friendly manner, empowering consumers to make informed decisions.

Omni-channel integration not only betters the customer experience but also provides marketers with a comprehensive view of the customer journey. By tracking interactions across channels, businesses can gain valuable insights into how consumers engage with their brand, allowing them to refine their marketing strategies for maximum impact. Lastly, integrating SEO services into omni-channel strategies boosts visibility and helps businesses better understand and engage with their customers across different platforms.

The Human Element

While automation offers many benefits, it’s crucial not to overlook the human aspect of marketing. Despite advances in AI and machine learning, there are still elements of marketing that require human creativity, empathy, and strategic thinking.

Successful marketing automation strikes a balance between technology and human expertise. By using automation to handle routine tasks and data analysis, marketers can focus on what they do best – storytelling, building relationships, and driving innovation.

Conclusion

The future of marketing automation looks promising, offering improved efficiency and results for businesses of all sizes.

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As AI continues to advance and consumer expectations change, automation will play an increasingly vital role in keeping businesses competitive.

By embracing automation technologies, marketers can simplify processes, deliver more personalized experiences, and ultimately, achieve their business goals more effectively than ever before.

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Will Google Buy HubSpot? | Content Marketing Institute

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Why Marketers Should Care About Google’s Potential HubSpot Acquisition

Google + HubSpot. Is it a thing?

This week, a flurry of news came down about Google’s consideration of purchasing HubSpot.

The prospect dismayed some. It delighted others.

But is it likely? Is it even possible? What would it mean for marketers? What does the consideration even mean for marketers?

Well, we asked CMI’s chief strategy advisor, Robert Rose, for his take. Watch this video or read on:

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Why Alphabet may want HubSpot

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, apparently is contemplating the acquisition of inbound marketing giant HubSpot.

The potential price could be in the range of $30 billion to $40 billion. That would make Alphabet’s largest acquisition by far. The current deal holding that title happened in 2011 when it acquired Motorola Mobility for more than $12 billion. It later sold it to Lenovo for less than $3 billion.

If the HubSpot deal happens, it would not be in character with what the classic evil villain has been doing for the past 20 years.

At first glance, you might think the deal would make no sense. Why would Google want to spend three times as much as it’s ever spent to get into the inbound marketing — the CRM and marketing automation business?

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At a second glance, it makes a ton of sense.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I and others at CMI spend a lot of time discussing privacy, owned media, and the deprecation of the third-party cookie. I just talked about it two weeks ago. It’s really happening.

All that oxygen being sucked out of the ad tech space presents a compelling case that Alphabet should diversify from third-party data and classic surveillance-based marketing.

Yes, this potential acquisition is about data. HubSpot would give Alphabet the keys to the kingdom of 205,000 business customers — and their customers’ data that almost certainly numbers in the tens of millions. Alphabet would also gain access to the content, marketing, and sales information those customers consumed.

Conversely, the deal would provide an immediate tip of the spear for HubSpot clients to create more targeted programs in the Alphabet ecosystem and upload their data to drive even more personalized experiences on their own properties and connect them to the Google Workspace infrastructure.

When you add in the idea of Gemini, you can start to see how Google might monetize its generative AI tool beyond figuring out how to use it on ads on search results pages.

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What acquisition could mean for HubSpot customers

I may be stretching here but imagine this world. As a Hubspoogle customer, you can access an interface that prioritizes your owned media data (e.g., your website, your e-commerce catalog, blog) when Google’s Gemini answers a question).

Recent reports also say Google may put up a paywall around the new premium features of its artificial intelligence-powered Search Generative Experience. Imagine this as the new gating for marketing. In other words, users can subscribe to Google’s AI for free, but Hubspoogle customers can access that data and use it to create targeted offers.

The acquisition of HubSpot would immediately make Google Workspace a more robust competitor to Microsoft 365 Office for small- and medium-sized businesses as they would receive the ADDED capability of inbound marketing.

But in the world of rented land where Google is the landlord, the government will take notice of the acquisition. But — and it’s a big but, I cannot lie (yes, I just did that). The big but is whether this acquisition dance can happen without going afoul of regulatory issues.

Some analysts say it should be no problem. Others say, “Yeah, it wouldn’t go.” Either way, would anybody touch it in an election year? That’s a whole other story.

What marketers should realize

So, what’s my takeaway?

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It’s a remote chance that Google will jump on this hard, but stranger things have happened. It would be an exciting disruption in the market.

The sure bet is this. The acquisition conversation — as if you needed more data points — says getting good at owned media to attract and build audiences and using that first-party data to provide better communication and collaboration with your customers are a must.

It’s just a matter of time until Google makes a move. They might just be testing the waters now, but they will move here. But no matter what they do, if you have your customer data house in order, you’ll be primed for success.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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