How does Acxiom Corporation get your information

Acxiom's specialty is offline data


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Everyone who has entered the company's databases once receives a 13-digit number to which all further information is assigned: age, place of residence, gender, skin color, preferences, political attitudes, vacation dreams, animals, purchasing behavior, education, income, illnesses, Finance, marital status, magazine subscriptions. The list is a long one. Acxiom keeps a record of more than 500 million active consumers worldwide, including 44 million Germans. Their data are to be stored on servers in Normanton near Leeds in the UK.

Acxiom is therefore an important player in this big data era, with which such great economic hopes are connected. Entrepreneurs dream of finding new customers faster than before when they can analyze data precisely and then predict with greater accuracy who might really be interested in their product. They want to reduce advertising costs and optimize sales. In other words: reduce costs.

Acxiom's specialty is offline data from consumers - data that is not so easy to find on the Internet because it was not collected by Google and Co., but by companies from other industries and, for example, by authorities. Acxiom has concentrated on bringing together as many such databases as possible. This is one of the reasons why Facebook entered into a far-reaching partnership with Acxiom in February of this year. Online and offline data should complement each other.

Competitive market

It is noticeable that Acxiom still shows comparatively small sales. For example, Google made more than $ 50 billion in revenue and $ 10.4 billion in profit last year. Acxiom, on the other hand, has to be content as the market leader among traditional database marketers with sales of $ 1.13 billion and a profit of $ 77.26 million. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that Acxiom operates in a highly competitive market with hundreds of providers. On the other hand, Acxiom and other collectors do less work for their customers than they do with Google. The search engine not only collects an incredible amount of data, but also provides the right advertising technology and a platform to play the advertising and measure the effect. In this closed system, the margins are comparatively high.

The data collection company Acxiom, on the other hand, supplies the profiles of potential customers, but customers like Ford and Toyota themselves have to use the data and translate it into advertising. Many traditional corporations find it comparatively difficult to do so, and in this respect the importance of Acxiom lies less in the size of the turnover than in the fact that the business model shows what is possible with digital data profiles today.



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The company is reluctant to disclose information about itself beyond the annual reports. Interview requests were not answered. After all, this much is known: The headquarters is in Little Rock, Arkansas, is closely guarded and sealed off like a high-security wing. There are around 23,000 servers with data at this location, some of them underground.

CEO Scott Howe previously worked at software company Microsoft, chief software engineer Phil Mui comes from Google, and other senior executives previously worked at Amazon, Yahoo and MySpace. This change was necessary: ​​the future of data collectors lies in the digital sector.

Acxiom's origins go back to 1969. Back then, entrepreneur Charles Ward wanted to help the Democratic Party with his database company Demographics. Acxiom grew out of this company (which today of course provides both major parties with information about possible voters). Even the smallest groups of voters can be targeted: even within one household, two people can receive different messages. In the 2012 presidential election campaign, Acxiom, among other things, went one step further. All of a sudden, old work colleagues and other Facebook friends called potential voters and asked them about their voting behavior. In order to select the callers, the data on the political attitudes of the potential voters and their willingness to vote were combined with the corresponding data of their Facebook friends.

Acxiom Germany Infobox

Acxiom Germany

In 2004 the Acxiom Germany GmbH founded.

The company obtains much of its information from publicly available information Registers, of Statistical offices, from the telephone book and from the Deutsche Post moving service.

The company divides Germany into 1.46 million street sections in order to Geospatial data to be able to provide based information about the residents.

The Data Protection Act However, it is much more severe in Germany than in the United States. The geodata must not be customizable, every data set must at least five households include. That means: In this country Acxiom is allowed to save less individualized data about a citizen than in the United States.

The self-collected data is only a part of the overall offer from Acxiom. Large customers now like to have their in-house databases processed, managed and enriched by Acxiom. For this purpose, Acxiom brings together various sources: traditional databases at authorities and corporations as well as data on Internet usage behavior and from mobile phone providers. "This gives you a 360-degree view of your customers. It doesn't matter whether a Robert called himself Bob, moved in between and uses a new e-mail address - we can determine exactly who is who", says Wilson. It praises the company's own software called AbiliTec, which detects overlaps and assigns the different identities to the profiles. "We have been developing this for decades."