Acxiom knows all your secrets

Its new Audience Operating System combines your online and offline identities into one -- the better to sell you stuff. UPDATE: Acxiom responds

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UPDATE: Acxiom responds

After this post went live I heard from Acxiom CPO Jennifer Barrett-Glasgow, who objected to some of the hypotheticals I presented in my post, as well as my descriptions of what AOS does. I invited her to compose a response. It follows in full:

We feel there are some points in Dan’s blog that should be clarified.

The article refers to AOS as a marketing database that companies subscribe to. AOS is far more than a database. It is a marketing system that allows Acxiom’s clients to set up an environment in which they can manage data they have about their customers in combination with demographic and interest data they license from Acxiom to augment their understanding of the marketplace. It offers capabilities to analyze the data and execute advertising campaigns.

It is important to distinguish between the data an advertiser has about its marketing and advertising activities with customers and prospects and the data Acxiom brings to the marketplace to augment that data and provide more relevant offers. Acxiom’s data is collected from public records, surveys and from consumer facing companies who share customer purchase information with third parties. Most of these companies offer free services and support them through advertising and providing leads to other companies. The example of a diaper service is not a place Acxiom would get data about new parents. Instead it would more likely come from a survey or a registration for diaper coupons.

Acxiom’s entity resolution service is used in several ways. It links up data that Acxiom collects from various sources to create our marketing data products. It also links up data an advertiser has about their customers across channels. Finally, it provides the linkage needed for adding Acxiom to the client’s AOS environment. Maybe more importantly, it does not link up data between unknowing disparate entities as described in the example of the Web registration and ordering from LL Bean.

Acxiom does not have one cohesive profile that incorporates Acxiom marketing data with our advertising client’s data. Instead, we license the specific data elements that an advertiser wants and integrate them with our client’s customer data using the AOS.

It is important to also point out that the example of your boss learning about your financial support of the Tea Party or that you subscribe to Guns and Gardens magazine won’t happen from Acxiom. Our marketing data can only be used for marketing purposes, not for determining credit or insurance rates or for employment purposes.

For individuals who want to understand what data Acxiom has about them, instead of opting out as the article suggests, we recommend you visit and see for yourself what data has been collected. Then make your own decision about whether it is accurate, whether it should be corrected, whether you want to delete certain elements, or whether you want to completely opt-out. The choice is yours.

The article focuses mostly on Acxiom’s marketing data products which have been around for over 20 years, and does not give much detail on the new functionality of the system. The AOS is an open application platform - pre-loaded with Acxiom applications - that allows an advertiser to plan and execute targeted campaigns across the full range of media options, both online and offline, through the complete purchase funnel, from top to bottom. This is achieved through a deeply integrated, comprehensive software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform utilizing industry-leading security and privacy compliance.

Acxiom clients now have the ability to:

  1. Connect their online and offline audience data for advertising purposes only
  2. Reach the best audiences across multiple channels
  3. Analyze cross-channel campaign effectiveness and optimize accordingly

In addition to the applications, the AOS will allow a growing ecosystem of application developers and partners to integrate additional solutions via open, secure application programming interfaces (APIs). As a complete system, AOS helps reduce marketing waste and improve customer experiences.

Got a question about social media or privacy? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he'll make something up). Follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to's, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

Now read this:

Further adventures in data mining, or welcome to my Lear Jet lifestyle

Axciom exposed: A peek inside one of the world’s largest data brokers

What does Acxiom know about you? More than you think, not all of it true

What do data miners really know about us? We may soon find out.

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