Email Is Your Digital Social Security Number

One of the foremost themes of this year’s MediaPost Email Insider Summit was the central role of email in a brand’s marketing stack.

“Email is not just a survivor -- it’s the king of your IT infrastructure,” said Chris Marriott, president of Marketing Democracy, while discussing how the phrase 'email is dead' should long be forgotten in a panel discussion to close out the conference.

Kay Kerman, manger of email and CRM strategy at the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, agreed that email plays an integral role in digital marketing. “It’s the social security number of the new and coming universe,” she says.

Personalized marketing is impossible without the data necessary to create relevant campaigns, and most marketers are now building customer profiles around email addresses. By a show of hands, the vast majority of attendees at MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit leverage email as their primary source of customer identification.



Describing email as a digital social security number became a mantra often repeated in the conference rooms of the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, UT.

High-performing marketing teams are 13.7 times more likely to create a single view of customers, according to Salesforce’s 2016 State of Marketing Report. A poll of 4,000 marketers illustrated how 64% of self-identifying top-performing marketing departments responded that they were excellent at creating a single view of a customer. On the opposite end of the spectrum, only 4% of underperforming marketing teams responded that they were excellent at creating a single, holistic customer profile.

Eight out of ten marketers surveyed by Salesforce responded that email was core to driving revenue for their business, and 83% of top-performing marketers asserted that they use customer data, including email, to segment and target digital advertising.

Email’s role in a marketing stack has jumped in alignment with its increased monetization, said Kerman, “and we’ve used it to enhance the customer experience.”

“More and more companies are now saying that they’re a customer-first company,” said Morgan Stewart, co-founder and CEO of Trendline Interactive. “We’ve been talking about it for years, but now it’s actually becoming true.”
1 comment about "Email Is Your Digital Social Security Number".
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  1. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, December 8, 2016 at 5 p.m.

    Email as a digital social security number is a great sound bite. And I do not dispute the effectiveness or value of good customer email addresses and tracked behavior based on email campaigns. 

    However, unlike SS numbers, consumers can have as many email addresses as they want, and can therefore take on and craft as many distinct personalities as they want, for whatever reason would motivate them. So when marketers think they have a single view of the customer, how complete is that really? You don't know what you don't know. 

    Email is near the top for me, but I wouldn't hang my hat just on that. 

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