Email DNA: The Address Is The Best Consumer Identifier, Forrester Says

There’s plenty of blather about ad tech, martech, and the need to consolidate data. But there is really only one tool for achieving that goal, however advanced your technology:

The humble email address.

That’s one conclusion of a report out today, titled “Kick-Start Your Adtech/Martech Convergence,” conducted by Forrester and commissioned by LiveIntent.

Of 108 B2C marketers surveyed, 89% said that a customer’s email address is valuable or extremely valuable as an identifier in a marketing program. The second most useful form of ID, cited by 76%, is the phone number. And the other choices trail off from there:

  • An authenticated session on my Web site — 70%
  • An authenticated session on a third-party marketplace — 64%
  • iP address — 61%
  • Mobile device identifier — 57%

A customer’s social login — 55%

Why is an email address so valuable? Because, as Forrester writes, it’s familiar, persistent, common and people-based, and is “tied to an individual rather than a household or device.”



Indeed, the email address enables marketers to do more than just send emails — it also enables them to “activate their data, so they can recognize and customize experiences for consumers across publisher and mobile experiences,” Forrester adds.

How nice it is to give a shout out to email. But don’t get caught in the silo trap, the main barrier to ad tech/martech convergence. Asked to list the obstacles they face, the respondents specified:

  • Difficulty working across internal silos — 42%
  • Concerns over technology cost — 32%
  • Difficulty coordinating with external partners — 31%
  • Difficulty integrating advertising marketing and customer data — 30%
  • Lack of executive buy-in — 28%

Considering all that, it’s not a big shock that “the majority of firms haven’t yet taken real action” to make convergence happen. Forrester found that 35% are taking measures today, but that 58% are merely talking about it. That said, only 7% are doing nothing.

How advanced are these companies? Forrester determined that 43% are capable of customer insights/analytics, that 39% are capable of data activation and that 39% are capable of campaign measurement/attribution.

But here’s one upbeat note: More than half say they will converge within two years. And you can bet that email addresses will be at the center of it. 

Next story loading loading..