A Downturn Is the Right Time to Invest in Identity Content

A Downturn Is the Right Time to Invest in Identity Content

Is your mar tech powered by quality consumer data?

By Charlie Swift, EVP, Head of Marketing and Account Management, Adstra

Adweek: September 29, 2022

Economic downturns are often the best times to invest. While this is true of consumer investors, it’s also true for brands looking to build out their marketing capabilities in order to weather uncertain times ahead. 

Many brands are already investing in technology to manage their identity needs as they deliver targeted messages to consumers and will likely continue to do so. But having an identity solution is only half the battle. 

If brands want their identity solutions to deliver the kind of output needed to be innovative, evolved marketers, they need to invest in identity content.

What is identity content?

The word “content” may elicit a thought about firing up the Netflix app to find a movie. Some marketers will think of email blasts, social posts, blog posts and event programming. Identity content is something else that CMOs should be well versed in—it’s the input that powers the identity solutions they are investing in.

In short, identity content is the sum of all the information that represents the points of connection to an individual—from an email, IP address and device ID, to a name, phone number and postal address. Some of these points exist in the known realm of personally identifiable information (PII) and some in the unknown.

That content data goes into an identity solution that in turn enables brands to drive the insights and tools that deliver the performance and effectiveness that advertisers want. 

Why identity content matters

Brands are accustomed to investing heavily in solutions that help them stay on the front lines of advertising. They want to make their customer data actionable in a privacy-safe fashion so they can drive greater efficiency and performance. 

Identity is the thing that is often forgotten about but is a key to success. Marketers are used to investing in technology, but not the inputs. 

Again, no solution, no matter how expensive it is, can deliver performance by itself. The classic adage is “garbage in, garbage out.” Marketers with identity solutions want to realize a form of “identity content in, performance out.” A failure to invest in identity content is likely to yield lackluster results on the back end. 

Plan now to avoid repeating mistakes

In this period of economic uncertainty, many brands are looking at their second half 2022 and early 2023 budgets and trying to decide where to cut back. There are likely several who are planning to maintain an investment in identity solutions but have no plans for identity content. This would be a foolish move, replicating one that brands have done in the past.

Over the past decade, brands have invested in CRM solutions, customer data platforms (CDPs) and campaign management technology, all under the auspices of greater marketing efficiency and improved performance. The one thing that all those solutions have in common is that each requires content input—they cannot run on their own and deliver performance.

Unfortunately, the market largely avoided investing in identity content to power those solutions, which led to many brands questioning their efficacy and expressing disappointment. Output is determined by the input, so brands can’t skip out on investing in the input once again.

A decade of investment in technology has left many brands to view their marketing technology and data as cost centers rather than revenue drivers. In a time of economic uncertainty, data, or identity content, is the material that is going to assist with an efficient marketing plan that drives revenue.

Google’s plans to stop supporting third-party cookies had many marketers looking to gather up more first-party data. That’s the kind of identity content investment that needs to continue, even in the wake of Google’s delay.

Identity content is what powers marketing technology and provides the answers that help execute successful campaigns. Technology, by itself, knows nothing. At a time when overall budgets may be cut, brands need to make sure that they are investing in identity content if they want their expensive marketing technology solutions to work for them.


As EVP, head of marketing and account management at Adstra, Charlie Swift oversees the company’s marketing strategy, communications and execution, as well as the delivery of services and maintenance of Adstra’s direct account client base and the associated revenue.

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