Identity Crisis: How a broken identity table impacts marketing and how to fix it

Identity resolution is the process of attributing customer behavior and interactions across all touchpoints, platforms, or channels to a single, unified customer profile. It is a foundational element for modern digital marketing. 

Identity resolution is powered by a customer identity model or identity table. This is a structured framework that captures and organizes key customer information such as email, phone number, and user ID. A good identity model must include one stable identifier per customer—that is, a piece of data such as a user ID, that travels consistently across all instances of that customer’s behavior. 

Identity resolution isn’t just a one and done thing: marketers’ everyday needs to personalize messaging across channels throughout the entire customer lifecycle means the identity model needs to be re-validated any time there is a significant change to the underlying data, like the addition of a new data source or identifier. 

The three tell-tale signs of a broken identity model

Not validating your customer identity table on a regular basis can lead to issues down the road that have huge implications for your customer experience and marketing ROI. Most often the symptoms of a broken identity table are felt by the marketing team, and the people with whom they are attempting to communicate. These can appear in the form of: 

  • Customer complaints: Marketing often receives complaints from customers that are benign in nature – but when the complaints are due to broken experiences – such as, customers receiving multiple copies of the same email in one day, or customers receiving out-of-context offers via email or SMS – your identity table could be the culprit.
  • Missing or incomplete profiles: If your customer support team reports not being able to find customers within their systems, or seeing multiple profiles for one person or none at all, and having to ask questions like “could it be under another name or phone number?” your identity table could be broken.
  • Mis-sized segments: If, in the process of building customer segments, your marketing team reports audience sizes that are way larger or smaller than they intuitively know they should be, or those segments are missing individuals that marketers know should be in there – your identity table could be to blame.

There are a number of downstream effects from poor identity hygiene, not the least of which is the impact on customer experience when people get wrong or out-of-context emails or miss receiving messages that they should. 

Other downsides include inefficient use of your marketing spend and security and compliance risks. But perhaps the costliest one is that in the long run, your internal teams across the company may lose confidence in the data. 

Master data management for validating your identity table

Most data professionals are already familiar with using master data management to validate their identity model, among other things. 

Master Data Management (MDM) is defined as a comprehensive approach to managing and maintaining an organization’s critical data assets. It involves creating a unified, consistent, and accurate view of master data, which typically includes customer, product, vendor, and other key data domains.

In the same vein, an MDM platform supports the implementation and execution of these strategies. These provide capabilities to integrate data from multiple sources, cleanse and standardize the data, resolve conflicts and duplicates, and create a single trusted version of the data.

Identity resolution is particularly relevant to MDM – when dealing with customer data, where multiple records may exist for the same individual or when trying to link customer data with external reference data sources.

The thing is, master data management takes a bit time to implement – regardless of if its design and implementation is led by an outside agency or internally. This poses issues for marketers who need access to rich and accurate customer profiles to support their marketing strategies now

Introducing IdentityQA – a faster solution for fixing broken identity models

MDM may be a worthwhile investment for your data organization, but while you’re waiting for that strategy to stand up, we believe strongly that brands – and the marketers powering them – should not have to wonder if their identity model is correct or not. 

That’s why we recently launched IdentityQA, a Snowflake native app now available in the Snowflake App Marketplace. 

With IdentityQA, you can test your identity table for free – right within your Snowflake cloud data warehouse. IdentityQA offers a free, easy solution to validate your identity table or identify the root cause of identity problems.

Simply download and run the app from Snowflake’s new native app marketplace, and immediately you’ll be able to spot inconsistencies, duplicate records, and incomplete information that may be impacting the accuracy of your identity table.

For more information or to download IdentityQA, visit

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