Acxiom Aims for Neutral Data Utility Role With LiveRamp Purchase



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LiveRamp’s technology and partnerships will give Acxiom new capabilities to marry online and offline customer data and offer advanced multichannel targeting for marketing.

News Analysis


On 14 May 2014, Acxiom said it signed an agreement to acquire LiveRamp for $310 million. The deal is set to close this summer.


By acquiring LiveRamp, Acxiom continues to close the gap between marketers’ most valuable first-party data — especially offline data — and advanced targeting capabilities associated with ad tech. Acxiom reinforced its intention to become the “Switzerland of data,” serving as a neutral party that takes data from an organization, enriches it with data from other sources and protects privacy and ownership with its safe haven. With this pre-emptive action, Acxiom signals its strategic move upstream from selling and managing marketing data to activating it for marketers.

LiveRamp’s technology will complement Acxiom’s Audience Operating System (AOS), a software-as-a-service offering introduced in 2013 that combines data from multiple sources and enables digital marketers to run analytics and applications against this data to segment and target audiences across channels.

Key features of LiveRamp’s offerings include:

  • An onboarding capability that enables customers to transform internal data into formats compatible with various third-party marketing applications and create batch and real-time links among systems.

  • An ability to match customer relationship management (CRM) data with customers online. This information can then be used to target customers and prospects across email, direct mail and online display advertising.

  • A console that enables marketers to consolidate data in different formats and to create segments for campaigns. Its interface is considered easier and more intuitive for new customers to use.

  • Integration with customer relationship management, tag management, site optimization, search and other marketing tools and systems.

LiveRamp has partnerships with over 100 application providers, including key players such as BlueKai and traditional Acxiom competitors such as Epsilon.

Acxiom’s promise of neutrality is a risky play with a huge upside. Acxiom’s odds of success will become clearer based on whether its competitors and tentative partners accept assurances of ongoing neutral support from LiveRamp or seek alternatives. The secure, privacy-conscious onboarding, routing and sharing of customer data among enterprise marketing groups and providers has clear potential to offer significant scale-based benefits to all participants, as well as winner-take-all network effects for Acxiom.



  • Leverage your data assets via this emerging ecosystem of data partnerships and alliances to reach high-value customers and prospects with personalized messaging.

  • Establish processes and governance around the management of your customer data within this broadening ecosystem, much of which is personal.

Ad and marketing tech and service companies:

  • Evaluate the tradeoffs between cooperation and competition with Acxiom’s utility strategy.

  • Don’t underestimate the potential of network effects for services like AOS and LiveRamp to produce a clear leader in the marketing data ecosystem.

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