CEO Profiles: Scott Howe, Acxiom Corp.

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Mar. 26, 2012 12:00 am  

Since then, Howe has also announced he will pour $30 million into a research and development initiative, which involves hiring up to 400 new employees, many recruited from universities in central Arkansas.

"Before, we needed folks who really understood data architecture and the concept of a traditional database," Howe said in February. "Increasingly, we also need folks who understand how an ad server works, who understand how Facebook works, who understand how search algorithms work."

The digital media angle is new, but Howe said it doesn't mean the company is replacing its historic focus on direct-mail campaigns.

"What we've always done is manage customers' databases," Howe said. "That hasn't changed at all. What's changed are elements that go into the customer database, and the methods for mining and distilling that information, then empowering folks around our clients to use that information."

In entering digital media, Howe wants to tap into the well of "big data," or the constant stream of online information, marry that information with the data Acxiom has already compiled and finally extract the new data and refine it into a form that's monetarily useful for Acxiom.

Howe likened entering the modern data world to learning how to drive on a freeway.

"As an organization, our next big challenge is going to be how can we increase our speed, yet keep our wheels on the road?"



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