Brands are increasing focus on their data resources these days as they prepare for
major disruptions to the digital marketing and data landscapes. Yet as brands spend
time preparing for the future, a form of cognitive dissonance is emerging.
Brands today are making decisions and investing in third-party identity solutions that
will ready them for the next evolution of data management and collection. The trouble,
however, is that many brands aren’t doing this the way that they want. This may be in
part due to external technology and policy changes. Oftentimes, marketers simply feel
under pressure to decide on a solution quickly, leaving little to no room for
experimentation or innovation.
Many brands, particularly financial services companies,
have trouble disentangling from long-standing relationships with major data providers,
who in turn may be resistant to make the deep investments required to modernize. Too
many brands feel stuck with the solutions they’ve got, and are being forced to evolve at
the slow pace of their partners.
Brands are looking to control how they use identity amid some major disruptions, but
the quest for control has some panicking and moving too hastily. The industry hasn’t
settled on a definitive way of using IDs in the future, yet many brands are making
decisions that may leave them locked in and unable to make a change. The quest for
solutions right now may mean a loss of control – and a loss margin – in the near future.
Let’s unpack some of the reasons that are driving these rushed decisions, and how
brands can balance the need to move quickly while also maintaining flexibility and
control over their long-term customer relationships.
I went with the easiest solution
One reason why so many companies choose their data management provider (and
subsequent ID solution) is because they want to get it done. The ease with which the
task can be completed is paramount. There’s a sense of relief, possibly even joy, when a
decision is made, and the brand feels it can tap into the next phase of people-based
marketing. With some providers, the ease extends to use. Teams feel a rush of excitement when
they can expand their audiences with the click of a button.
Of course, all teams want ease. No one wants a headache when it comes to selecting
data management partners, nor do they want to have a hard time using any associated
software. But ease alone isn’t enough to make such a huge decision. The data decisions
made today will impact businesses 10 and 20 years down the line. The instant
gratification of checking a box right now could lead to intractable problems down the
road. The goal is to select the easiest solution over time, not in the moment.
I can’t get in trouble for this decision
The old adage is “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.” While that phrase may be
outdated, the attitude remains when it comes to making big IT decisions. The team in
charge of the decisions still often goes with the biggest name. As a result, no one
questions the decision.
While this prevents any second-guessing, it’s clearly not a sound business decision.
Picking the same partner as everyone else sounds safe, but it doesn’t sound strategic at
all. The rise of big data has taught us that data is critical to all enterprises and marketing
operations, but there is no single data strategy that is applicable to every business.
There are infinite ways that brands can use their data, and so many variables that go into
making decisions and building a strategy. You can get in trouble if your decision doesn’t
support your strategy, especially over time.
My partner will change for me
Another reason why so many brands are making identity choices now is because they
think they can check the box and then their platform of choice will change, based on
This is a gamble based on two huge assumptions: First, that the identity platform’s
concept will win out over other ideas in the market. Again, the industry is still sorting out
how data and ID management will look in the future. Yet some of the partners are
pushing their solution as the future. No brand can give in to the pressure and marketing
Second, choosing right now carries the expectation the partner will have the money to
invest in future developments. Betting on someone else’s development budget is a
dangerous game that could cause long-term problems.
Why bother now?
On the opposite side from the “just get it done” folks are the “wait and see” brigade. It’s
absolutely true that the current data landscape is just the latest stage in a continuing
evolution. More change is inevitable. However, this is not a reason to hold o on committing to a data management partner. The goal is to move quickly, but not hastily. There’s too much at stake for any company
to drag its feet when it comes to managing identity. Amid new privacy policies and
cookie deprecation, brands are losing control of how they manage and use identity.
Waiting too long would yield the same result as moving recklessly: someone else would
control their identity in the future.
Brands don’t need to check a box; they need something that helps their business now
and will not prohibit them from operating in the future. They need a solution that lets
them use identity in a way that fits their operations. It’s entirely possible to find a
solution and integrate quickly, in a way that doesn’t stop future developments or
The industry is undergoing seismic shifts so frequently that going with what feels like
the safe bet or easy option right now could have real downside in the long run. For too
many brands, the goal is to hit the easy button. Instead, pursue the larger goal of taking
control of identity. The future of your company depends on it.
Mindfully finding the balance between speed and flexibility has been at the heart of
Adstra’s business model and its Enterprise Identity Platform – Conexa. To learn more
about enterprise identity platforms, click here to download our whitepaper.