Scott Howe

March 29, 2018

As our clients and partners know, ethical practices for data sourcing, use, and governance have been among Acxiom’s core strengths throughout our nearly 50-year history.  We have a track record of setting internal standards above and beyond current laws and regulations and have always been a vocal advocate for consumer rights and protections.

In recent weeks, Facebook has been featured prominently in the news for what it describes as a breach of trust that occurred between Facebook and consumers. On Wednesday, Facebook notified the industry that the Facebook Partner Categories tool, which allows audience personalization through third-party data, will be discontinued over the next several months.  While some may infer that this implies Acxiom and other ethical data partners were somehow at fault, this is simply not the case.

How any large publisher uses its own data is entirely its own decision.  However, every member of the marketing community — no matter how large — has a responsibility to the community’s other citizens.  Everyone should want a level, transparent and ethical playing field that doesn’t bias choice or opportunity.

Our world is becoming more data-driven with each passing day.  Thousands of companies rely on ethically sourced third-party data to better serve their customers and have done so for decades. Now is not the time to make walls thicker or higher.  This should be a moment for the industry to rally around principles of transparency, choice, and a commitment to putting the consumer at the center of everything we do – principles for which Acxiom has always stood.

Marketers have more choices than ever and can reach consumers in thousands of places online.  We remain committed to working with all parts of the ecosystem – ethically, openly, and transparently – to ensure consumers everywhere can benefit from the countless ways that data makes their lives easier and better.

Our most important advice to our many industry colleagues:

  • Encourage the entire industry to put real safeguards in place rather than provide window dressing and politically motivated spin.
  • Don’t allow any partners, no matter how powerful, to force you to work in their proprietary black box.  Instead, seek industry standards that apply to everyone equally and fairly.
  • Take a stand.  Support the democratization of data and a level playing field – it’s good for all of us.

Let’s create a world without walls.

Scott Howe

Scott Howe

Scott Howe

As CEO and President of Acxiom, Scott drives a strong, results-oriented culture for Acxiom’s associates as the company deepens and expands its offerings of global marketing and technology products. Scott is a marketing and advertising veteran with extensive experience in digital media and technology. As the lines between traditional and digital marketing disappear, Scott insists on a singular focus on helping Acxiom’s clients understand the complexities of this new marketing era. A native of Milwaukee, Scott is a former Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Advertising Business Group. In this role, he managed a multibillion dollar business encompassing all emerging businesses related to online advertising, including search, display, ad networks, in-game, mobile, digital cable and a variety of enterprise software applications. Previously, Scott was a corporate officer at aQuantive, where he managed three lines of business, including Avenue A|Razorfish (one of the world’s largest digital agencies), DRIVE Performance Media (now Microsoft Media Network) and Atlas International (an adserving technology now owned by Facebook). Earlier in his career, he was with the Boston Consulting Group and also Kidder, Peabody & Company, Inc. Scott is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University, with a degree in economics, and he earned an MBA from Harvard University. He serves as a director of Blue Nile, Inc. (NASDAQ: NILE), a leading online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry, is on the board of the Center for Medical Weight Loss and the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). He is a former director of Geeknet (NASDAQ: GKNT) and Turn, Inc., a digital advertising company.