Acxiom Seeks Replacement CEO with Strong Digital Background

by Robert Bell  on Monday, Apr. 11, 2011 12:00 am  

Malloy's research report expressed a similar take, stating that the board will likely look for an "outside CEO to focus the business on a more digital-centric product offering and new markets."

"Historically, these companies like Acxiom were built to help companies do direct mail, and then they sent it out through other channels, but it's still direct-marketing oriented," Frankland said. "And I think in this day and age, that's not enough."

Frankland said Meyer had made strides in the digital marketing business but probably wasn't moving the company in that direction quickly enough to suit the board of directors.

In October, Acxiom unveiled AbiliTec Digital, an update of the custom data integration software it had created 10 years earlier.

"For the first time, Acxiom clients can identify customers through email and mobile addresses, not just physical identifiers, dramatically improving customer information accuracy," an Acxiom release stated.

A research note by Piper Jaffray analyst Mark Zgutowicz offered something of a mixed review. "While Abilitec Digital holds promise for meeting advertiser online/mobile real-time demands, timing and ultimate effectiveness of the solution remains uncertain," he wrote.

"When you think about digital, it's transforming that industry. The traditional marketing industry is being turned on its head by digital," Frankland said. That means companies like Acxiom have to do more than just collect and organize data, of which there is more than at any other point in history.

Marketing companies have to help their clients leverage, analyze and integrate data "to improve their inbound communications, services, product development, hiring, you name it. It doesn't matter which part of the business, it should all be at least influenced, if not driven by, knowledge about customers," Frankland said.



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