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Acxiom / LiveRamp advertising & marketing assignments

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Acxiom was, until 2018, a leading independent data solutions company which specialised in database analytics and marketing technology. It offered a broad range of CRM-related marketing services including digital marketing, consumer insight, consultancy and identity verification solutions. These services were underpinned by a vast data collection compiling demographic and social information on around 1bn individuals worldwide and feeding billions of customer relationships on behalf of more than 7,000 corporate clients. Acxiom claimed to execute more than 1 trillion transactions every week. It added to its marketing operations through a series of acquisitions, including the database marketing operations of rival ChoicePoint Precision Marketing in 2008. Yet an increasingly key service was identity resolution, which allowed clients to refine and enhance their own customer data across multiple media channels by matching it with Acxiom's own resources. That business was built from the acquisition of analytics platform LiveRamp in 2014. However, in 2018, key customer Facebook, which had been using data from Acxiom and other third-party suppliers for ad targeting, ended that relationship in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The decision prompted a strategic review within Acxiom, culminating in the decision to divest the marketing solutions business and focus instead on the LiveRamp side of the business. A deal was agreed to sell Acxiom Marketing Solutions to Interpublic for $2.3bn. Reported group revenues for 2017 were $880m, of which $697m was generated by the marketing solutions division. Acxiom now operates as a unit of Interpublic offering data and tools to inform marketing campaigns from in-group agencies as well as external partners. Chad Engelgau succeeded Dennis Self in 2020 as CEO, reporting to Interpublic's chief data & technology officer Arun Kumar. Following completion of the sale in Oct 2018, the remainder of Acxiom Inc rebranded as LiveRamp Inc, offering identity resolution and related services. The group had already divested its smaller infrastructure and hosting division in 2016, as well as an email marketing unit which was a competitor to several key potential customers. Acxiom was originally founded in 1969 as Demographics, later becoming CCX before adopting its current name in 1988. Former aQuantive and Microsoft digital advertising exec Scott Howe was CEO of Acxiom at the time of the Interpublic acquisition. He remains CEO of LiveRamp.

Capsule checked 26th November 2020

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 5th July 2018: In its biggest acquisition for two decades, Interpublic has agreed to acquire most of database marketing giant Acxiom for $2.3bn. It is acquiring Acxiom's marketing solutions division, which represents as much as three-quarters of overall revenues. That business compiles, analyses and then resells in anonymised form customer data accumulated from scores of retailers, financial services firms and other suppliers. Acxiom announced a strategic review of its operations earlier in the year in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook's subsequent decision to terminate its partnership with third party data brokers (including Acxiom), and growing concerns over data privacy and protection. What remains of the Acxiom corporate entity will rebrand as LiveRamp, its identity and customer profiling platform, which allows clients to upload their own customer data and have it matched with other sources. Scott Howe will remain as CEO. The Acxiom name will transfer to Interpublic. In a conference call with investors, IPG CEO Michael Roth said the purchase was designed to fill a specific hole in the group's existing services. "Clients are constantly asking us if we have capabilities in certain areas," he said "Frankly, that's what drove us to this transaction. Working with Acxiom in the past, we did have additional expertise that we brought to the table, but candidly, we were turning business away because we couldn't provide the in-depth data opportunities that Acxiom brings." 

Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd May 2014: Acxiom, the data giant that is already making big inroads into traditional marketing services, acquired analytics firm LiveRamp for $310m. The smaller company is the leading data "onboarder", matching clients' existing customer data to key potential digital marketing platforms. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Dec 2013: Data collection and analytics giant Acxiom, already making its presence felt on the periphery of the traditional marketing industry, took a big step into the mainstream with a ground-breaking deal with media network Starcom MediaVest. Under the new multi-year arrangement, Acxiom will give SMV access to its Audience Operating System, which allows for extremely sophisticated segmentation of audience types. Starcom plans to combine that information with third-party data to offer clients substantially enhanced media targeting. This partnership is a huge deal for us," said Acxiom CEO Scott How, "because Acxiom has never had in its 40-year history a relationship with an agency." Previously it has always worked directly with marketer clients. Starcom has established a reputation as one of the first movers in innovative alliances with non-traditional partners. It also has joint ventures with Twitter and Yahoo to pool audience data.

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