Perspectives Blog Archives - Acxiom


Relevant marketing demands more than first-party data

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It’s no wonder marketers are an anxious sort. The relevance of our brand to our customers means everything to us, but it’s also one of the hardest things to achieve and measure.

Recent advances in marketing technology have eased the pain considerably, with shopping cart abandonment offers and discounts; product recommendations based on purchase history; and offline point-of-sale data informing online re-targeting efforts. The best bit of all this has been the mutual benefits: increased marketing ROI for you and more timely, engaging and useful marketing for your consumers.

You know you’re probably still guessing

But there are still plenty of shortcomings, one of which is more potent that all the others combined. It’s this: 1st party data only gives you a narrow, artificial view of your customers. Basing any marketing activity on 1st party data alone—that’s the data on people who have directly interacted with you—feels disconcerting. That’s not to say it isn’t enormously valuable, because it is. But if we’re talking about achieving contextual and meaningful customer engagement, 1st party data is foundational work.

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Shoppers demand relevance. Are you ready?

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Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.” That’s what Tom Freston, the former president and CEO of MTV, once stated when talking about disruptive innovation in business.

In the ever-changing digital age, marketers live in an auspicious, yet scary, time. The explosion of new connected technologies – such as smartphones, applications, wearables and other Internet of Things devices – has seemingly made unconventional data sources readily accessible to marketers. But with this proliferation, the complexity of untangling all structured and unstructured data sources becomes increasingly messy, leaving most marketers unprepared to deal with the velocity and dynamic nature of consumer data today.

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Reflecting on ethical data use on Data Privacy Day

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If there is any marketing industry topic deserving of its own designated day, it is Data Privacy Day. Every January 28, the National Cyber Security Alliance celebrates this event, which is becoming more important with each passing year.

As consumers, our digital footprints are growing larger every day. This is fueled by the rapid innovation of technology and our rapid adoption of connected devices. Just contrast something as simple as a morning routine from 20 years ago to today. Before, a consumer might wake up, brush their teeth, find out the weather from the TV and drive to work. Now, a consumer might wake up and check their sleep tracker wearable, brush their teeth with a smart toothbrush, ask their Amazon Echo for the weather forecast and summon a car with their smartphone.

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Some key takeaways for marketers from CES 2017

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Renowned tech expert Shelly Palmer called CES 2017 “the most important CES probably in the last 20 years.” That’s no small claim considering the groundbreaking, now ubiquitous products that have debuted at the tradeshow in the past two decades, such as DVDs, HDTVs and DVRs.

One reason he believes it was such a landmark event was that it served as a stark reminder for marketers that the velocity of data is increasing, and it will never let up from its torrid pace. Let’s look at three technology trends that emerged from the show impacting marketers in this regard.

Digital Assistants
While CES provided a glimpse at the impending arrival of a more automated economy through self-driving cars, there were also a number of technologies that are transforming consumers’ lives today. By most accounts, the one that took center stage was Amazon Alexa, the company’s voice control service. Alexa seemed to be omnipresent at the show — Palmer estimated there were more than 1,000 products touting an Alexa integration on the floor.

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In 2017, whip your data into shape

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It’s that time of year when everyone is talking New Year, New You. New beginnings, changes in fortune, and for marketers another chance to achieve our “omnichannel” dreams.

Our inboxes will soon be flooded with Key Marketing Trends for 2017, State of the Industry Reports, Statistical Fact Books, 2017 Industry Previews and the like. We will feel the stress of looking back at our past campaigns and determining our success rates. What went right? What went wrong? Was our creative on point? Did we generate revenue? And we will begin asking ourselves what to do to bring marketing to the next level – reaching for the holy grail of “omnichannel.” How does one engage with customers and prospects across channels with consistent messaging without being annoying?

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Reach out and cuss someone: what Gen Z calling habits reveal about changing customer experience

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Will Gen Z be the first generation to go all digital? Or will they react prosaically, even crassly, to make a point when brands aren’t meeting their expectations?

Perhaps surprisingly, a new Marchex study shows that Gen Z young’uns, the first truly digital native group, actually like to talk to businesses on the phone. In fact, the study reported that they have “a much higher tendency to make old-fashioned phone calls to businesses they found online than any other age group.” Another finding? That many don’t hesitate to curse at lackluster agents when needs aren’t immediately met.

The topic of this post, however, isn’t about the decline of good manners – it’s about the much-probed customer experience. Namely, letting customers engage with your brand relevantly and seamlessly. For omnichannel marketers, these words are a kind of mantra. As we’ll see, Gen Z calling habits suggest that we might want to add “human” to our industry chants.
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The data monetization dilemma

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It’s time to face facts. Data has value, you know it, and I know it. With economic turbulence not likely to settle any time soon nor, for that matter, the rate of innovation in our industry, businesses have to be ever more creative in making money with their assets and one of the fastest appreciating is customer data. The value a brand’s data has to another or to an intermediary like Acxiom who can help them monetize it is now something most senior marketers simply have to have a stance on. The thing is, while everyone seems to be interested in it, far fewer are willing to openly admit to practice it or claim to have mastered it. So why is this?

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Creating legendary customer service between a brand and its sellers

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The world of insurance can be very challenging to understand and very confusing, especially when you look at a company that utilizes an agent-type model. There is one question that always seems to come up as it relates to that model – “Who owns the customer? Is it the agent or the brand?” There are mixed thoughts depending on which carrier you ask.

In my opinion, they both own the customer. We are all in business to help our customers prevent claims or help restore what is lost in a claim. It’s our job as agents and carriers to service that customer and provide the best experience possible while they are connected to the brand, especially when one of the pieces might not be hitting the mark with the customer.

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Identify the customer, and make the journey worth it

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If you were in the vacation travel business, you’d get to know your customers before sending them on a journey to Argentina. Some would want urbane Buenos Aires, others wild Patagonia or the ski slopes of Bariloche, and others with the time and money might want a bit of each.

Minor detail: you’d also want to know they reached their destinations.

Knowing the consumer and watching the routes he or she takes is just as smart for marketers creating customer journeys. Here’s some good news: privacy-compliant identity resolution now enables a better journey for consumers and brands alike.

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Marketing lessons from the 2016 presidential election: Contextualizing Identity

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Do you leverage consumer identity to drive meaningful engagement? Or are you actually eroding the customer experience because of poor identity resolution?

There has been a lot of post-election reporting on the place identity politics played in the 2016 campaign, primarily how it further divided many Americans. Today I’ll focus on how an oversimplification of identity could be a lesson for brand marketers as they evolve and ideally recalibrate their customer engagement strategies for 2017 and beyond.

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