Marketing

Acxiom’s $310M LiveRamp buy puts data where marketers can use it

Above: LiveRamp employees.

Data giant Acxiom, like much of the tech industry, finds the concept of inaccessible data absurd.

That’s the message Nada Stirratt, Acxiom’s chief revenue officer, conveyed to VentureBeat while explaining why the company just spent $310 million to acquire LiveRamp.

Announced yesterday, the acquisition brings LiveRamp’s “data funneling” capabilities to Acxiom customers. In English, that means LiveRamp can pull data from various places — offline storage systems or web apps — and make it accessible anywhere a marketer or salesperson might want to use it. LiveRamp calls this “data onboarding.”

Examples: Perhaps an electronics maker wants to take data from its call-center interactions and toss it into a marketing automation system, so it can advertise an extended warranty specifically to folks whose products have had technical difficulties in the past.


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Or maybe a retail chain wants to advertise a special online deal through social media, but only to folks who have completed a transaction in one of its brick-and-mortar locations.

LiveRamp can match that offline and online data  — and now those data connection services are part of Axciom.

“What really became clear is we have this shared vision for an open and connected ecosystem,” James Arra, LiveRamp’s vice president of sales, told VentureBeat.

Today’s marketing technology landscape is dizzying in scope: There are nearly 1,000 companies offering apps and services in 43 categories, from display and social advertising to gamification and marketing analytics. Using data effectively is an increasingly important part of the modern marketer’s job — so marketers are prone to welcome any tech that makes data more portable with open arms.

“It’s not about the closed [technology] stack anymore,” said Arra. “It’s about having an open stack with the ability to leverage best in breed across everything.”

Indeed, we’ll be talking a lot about how marketers can most effectively use data at our DataBeat conference in San Francisco next week — a big part of which is migrating data effectively.

With its standardization and accessibility efforts, Acxiom sees itself as a sort of Switzerland for data, said Stirratt.

But LiveRamp competitors like DataLogix — and potentially even some LiveRamp customers — might see it more as a data empire: One of the world’s largest data brokers asking for access to all of your data could certainly seem a bit off-putting.

Naturally, both Acxiom and LiveRamp assured us there are all sorts of privacy and transparency practices in place to prevent abuse.

Acxiom’s $310 million LiveRamp acquisition is expected to close mid-summer.

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