exclusive: interview with Acxiom about omni-channel view


We asked David Wells, Acxiom Senior Director of Agency Sales, to talk to us about howAcxiom can deliver an omni-channel view of digital campaigns, and how agencies can use that data for better client recommendations.

Kantar Media SRDS: Can you give our readers a quick 2-3 sentence explanation of Acxiom, in case they're not familiar with the company?

David Wells: There are three pillars to Acxiom's business: We build and manage the marketing database systems for the largest global and national brands, including clients' 1st party data; we're also the provider of the largest, most accurate 3rd party marketing data used by large and small companies across all offline and digital channels; and we are the leader in consumer data privacy and the expert stewardship of marketing data for the industry.

Kantar Media SRDS: Most of our readers are agency people, primarily on media teams. What client problems is Acxiom helping agencies solve?

Wells: Agencies need to have confidence that they are using all the tools necessary to defend their spend, and that's especially true for the data they use to define and create the audiences they buy. What Acxiom is helping them do is translate the confidence they've had for decades about the audiences they reached in the offline world into that same confidence when buying digital audiences. Acxiom is helping agency partners target people—not cookies—across channels in a privacy compliant manner.

More specifically…

  • Acxiom has the data to know that a consumer possibly saw an ad, and the exact impact of that exposure without exposing any personally identifiable data.
  • We can deliver insights on the consumers targeted in their campaigns to direct the next wave of the campaign.
  • This targeting and the resulting metrics make it possible to have campaigns in different channels working together to reach the right consumers, with the right message at the right time.

Kantar Media SRDS: The phrase "omni-channel view" is popping up in our industry, often in discussions about the progression from mulit-view to omni-channel view. Tell us about Acxiom's perspective on omni-channel view.

Wells: Consumers engage with a company in a physical store, a phone call, through a website or mobile app, social media or catalog, using any number of devices. And if that experience is consistent and complementary, they will keep moving toward the goal they (and the marketer) want. But coordinating those different channels and messages, and measuring their impact on each other, is only becoming possible now with new data sets.

Acxiom delivers an omni-channel view of customers' digital activity. Acxiom data makes it possible for agencies to understand how campaigns running in different digital channels work in conjunction, what value different channels are adding to each other – like how mobile ads improve the results from display.

Kantar Media SRDS: Are agencies asking for this data or are the clients asking agencies to get it?

Wells: Absolutely. We've seen a dramatic shift this past year—many agencies, whether traditional planning teams or agency trade desks, are proactively asking to have Acxiom data sets made available to them through the Acxiom Premium Publisher Network and/or programmatic partners (DSPs, DMPs). They don't want to be in the position of having their clients push them when they're supposed to be the ones bringing their clients the best uses of marketing data and closed-loop audience measurement.

Kantar Media SRDS: What people at the agency, with what titles or skill sets, are typically involved with the Acxiom data day-to-day? (titles, skill sets)

Wells: The Acxiom agency team talks to all manner of agency personnel—30-year C-level professionals and first-year assistant media planners. That said, when we address specific data solutions and the platforms on which Acxiom segments are available, we typically speak to planners, supervisors, and directors who are making those all important day-to-day media decisions. It is very important to the Acxiom agency team that we:

  • Help them understand the breadth of consumer data available and why and how their peers use it with success
  • Serve the every-changing needs of those media planning professionals.

Kantar Media SRDS: How does the media team learn to use this data?

Wells: In our agency meetings, Acxiom often helps media personnel understand where our segments are available—which is anywhere and everywhere—even some platforms that operate in the same space as Acxiom. There are a myriad number of pertinent segments and platforms on which an agency may access those segments. So it is a tremendous amount of information to digest.

Each client's agency team is ready to help bring new people up to speed. We also have a dedicated resource in Acxiom's Data Guru Team to answer inquiries from agency teams really quickly. Acxiom's Data Guru Team has vast knowledge about Acxiom data, its differentiators, and where it is available.

Kantar Media SRDS: How are agencies using this data to differentiate themselves when pitching new clients?

Wells: Acxiom has a very storied history in data and data management. So when an agency is pitching a potential new account, we may already have a relationship with that advertiser—perhaps Acxiom manages their 1st party segments or perhaps Acxiom is leveraging our 3rd party segments to perform data hygiene. Whatever the case, any time an agency associates itself with an organization that offers that type of value over that length of time, it stands to reflect well on their team.

In addition, the ability to measure and defend the spend in new ways using the media and sales data helps the agency lower their clients' risk profile, because they know they'll have empirical evidence for how their media dollars performed when using Acxiom data and technology as part of the solution.

Kantar Media SRDS: How can using this data help a media professional develop in his or her career?

Wells: Media planning is a tough job. You constantly have to vet technologies in order to serve your client and the agency. Let's be honest—those who vet properly are marked for success and those who vet poorly are not. So how do you evaluate your partners? Should you continue to work with a proven performer or should you test a new technology? It's no easy decision.

While Acxiom has a 40+-year history of success, as we move into a new era of innovation we are also transforming our identity; Acxiom is more than data and data management—we're a technology company that is making addressable media available across all channels. If you want to hitch your wagon to a star, it's hard to argue with our history of success and our vision for the future.

Kantar Media SRDS: Do you have any good resources for readers who want to learn more about this omni-channel view?

Wells: We do have a white paper about integrating marketing channels for consistent client recognition. It's available for download here.

Kantar Media SRDS: Who can users contact with questions?

Wells: Please visit for direct access to experienced Acxiom data strategist or contact me, David Wells,

* Editor's note: At the time this post was written, Acxiom was a paid advertiser in the multimedia planning platform.

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