How Will IPG’s Purchase of Acxiom Affect Marketers?
by Anders Ekman, President of V12
In a move to help clients more effectively target their ads and messaging, advertising holding company Interpublic Group (IPG) recently bought Acxiom Marketing Solutions for a price tag of $2.3 billion. The acquisition of Acxiom, which supplies data on 2.2 billion consumers, is expected to play a pivotal role in transforming IPG’s data-driven marketing and first-party data capabilities.
While other advertising holding companies rent third-party data as their preferred business model, IPG forged ahead with its purchase of Acxiom and its accompanying marketing data assets. Although companies such as Omnicom and Publicis briefly entertained the idea of making a bid for Acxiom, both companies passed, feeling the need to stay data-agnostic by continuing to rent data to preserve the integrity of client relationships.
According to Philippe Krakowsky, IPG’s chief strategy and talent officer and Chairman and CEO of IPG Mediabrands, “We stay agnostic relative to technology in terms of ad tech and martech, but we’re really saying that when it comes to data, we believe that there’s a significant advantage in having scale in data.”
However, many marketers, holding companies and agencies are inevitably asking themselves the question about how the Acxiom deal will affect their ability to access third-party data of their own choosing and what other options are available.
Even with the pressure on the third party data markets in the wake of Facebook issues and GDPR implementation, marketers still need and want this data to ensure precise targeting and high quality customer experiences. Some agencies have even said the lack of third party data for targeting will take things back to “the stone age”. Third party data is here to stay and the need for high quality, ethically sourced and managed data is at an all time high. To have one of the major players off the table to most marketers creates both a problem and an opportunity for other third party data leaders.
There is no question that a company’s internal first-party data is the most valuable starting point and should always be used as the foundation from which a 360-degree customer view is developed. However, without knowing customers’ interests, buying intentions, detailed demographics and psychographics, marketers are severely limited in their ability to develop an omnichannel understanding of their customers and prospects for meaningful personalization across channels. These insights can only be gained by blending third party data assets with first-party data sources. Having the choice on which third-party data solution to use will be important in establishing competitive differentiation.
While IPG is expected to retain Acxiom as a stand-alone business, many brands simply want to work with an agency or vendor who is in a complete position of neutrality. Brands must weigh the risks of working with an agency who is selling products versus simply acting as a neutral agent on their behalf.
The Third-Party Data Landscape
As marketers evaluate the alternatives, greater importance will be placed on independent third-party data vendors. However, with one less major player on the field, options are limited. While a variety of niche vendors sell data, oftentimes these assets are bought and sold for years without being updated.
Privacy-Compliant Data Sources
In the wake of tighter regulations, brands and agencies will need to have tighter focus on only using ethically-sourced, permission-based data sources. A broker must be able to demonstrate how the data was obtained and what measures were taken to ensure that consumers provided consent and were informed that their data may be shared with third parties.
Breadth and Depth of Data Assets
Data quality must supersede data quantity, however the scope of a vendor’s data sets is extremely important and can provide greater efficiencies and advantages. Many smaller data brokers focus on a small segment, niche or demographic. Only a handful of larger providers offer assets at scale.
Brands and agencies must be aware that not all data is created equal and will need to ask questions about how the data is sourced, how often is it updated, and what is the breadth and depth of the vendor’s available data assets.
Industry Leading Omnichannel Data
Considered as one of the top five data companies in the U.S., V12 has a deep history, experience and industry expertise in developing high-quality third-party data assets. As an omnichannel data powerhouse, we offer data products that deliver deep coverage across consumer and business audiences. We house 215+ million consumer contacts with full address, 186+ million VINs, 208 million consumer emails, 300 million monthly cookies and 1,900 audience segments.
Our data is compiled from highly trusted, premium data compilers and we meet all DMA and IAB privacy and security regulations. For example, we only carry data on those 18+ years old and do not market to minors nor maintain any data on minors. We do not maintain Social Security numbers, Driver’s License numbers, Credit Card data or FICO scores on our file which permits us to adhere to all FCRA regulations. Our auto data is not sourced via state MVA / DMV or from vehicle registration permitting V12 to be fully compliant with the Shelby Act. We also store data in a SAS 70 certified environment.
One of our most innovative data products is our mobile purchase intender solution, V12 Signals, which connects households to mobile devices. Marketers are provided with daily consumer audiences who have visited a store location within the previous 24 – 48 hours. Data adheres to all consumer permissions and consents and includes name and address and is often enhanced with additional demographic, vehicle, and contact data.
Signals leads have set record-highs for V12’s automotive and retail clients, delivering 4x sales conversion rates and 3x engagement rates compared to other leading acquisition data available in the market.
Our email database is one of the largest in the industry and we only carry opt-in email addresses. We develop our email database in a cooperative database environment with data contributed by dozens of partner sources. Sources are updated monthly and include publishers, online retailers, catalogers, surveys and targeted destination sites. Full monthly update process ensures the most up to date emails are available.
V12’s automotive VIN database is also well known in the industry, used by a range of clients including OEMs, agencies, dealership groups, aftermarket businesses, and more. Formerly known as Relevate Auto, V12 AutoID has information on over 215+ million consumers and 186+ million VINs with linkage at the household and garage level. Many clients choose to use our data as an alternative to transactional auto files because we conform to the Shelby Act, DPPA, and other similar legislation, making our auto leads appropriate for all types of marketing initiatives.
V12 provides a range of additional assets including mover solutions spanning the entire move cycle, telephone data, lifestyle and behavioral information and a large selection of consumer data with demographic selects, purchase behaviors and personality information.
Marketers today are firmly entrenched in an era where data-driven marketing carries strict guidelines and regulations. Choosing the right data source and the right data provider isn’t just a matter of competitive advantage but also business survival. Marketers increasingly want to have more control over their data environment so choose wisely, make sure the data is ethically sourced and demand transparency and unbiased partnership.