Nada Stirratt is Chief Revenue Officer of Acxiom Corporation at Acxiom Ltd. a marketing technology and services company that offers offers marketing and information management services, including multichannel marketing, addressable advertising and database management. The company just released its Audience Operating System, an unprecedented product in the industry. The Makegood recently spoke with Nada about this new groundbreaking product.
The Makegood: So, you had a big announcement in September, one quite interesting for our industry – especially those on the buy side and agencies. What did you announce?
On September 24th, our company debuted Acxiom Audience Operating System ™ (AOS) – the world’s first platform for cross-channel audience segmentation, planning, buying and optimization at scale. It was a big day. Several partners and clients joined us on stage, as we unveiled AOS at Advertising Week in New York City. This technology changes marketing, well, forever.
The Makegood: What is the AOS, or Audience Operating System, exactly? And how is it an “operating system?”
AOS is a truly revolutionary system that, for the first time ever, allows marketers, agencies and publishers to plan, buy and optimize audiences across channels, devices and applications with precision and at scale. One integrated platform that brings together all kinds of data –1st party, 3rd party, online, offline – as well as disparate sources of media, channels and technology. It is an open platform that has the power to host virtually any marketing application you can imagine and we encourage developers to create applications on our platform.
AOS can distill massive amounts of data into real insights, and apply those insights everywhere — resulting in greater value that allows consumers to discover and acquire products and experiences that are most relevant to them.
The Makegood: What does AOS fix?
The marketing disconnect – disconnected data that leads to disconnected audiences and results in poor, irrelevant brand experiences. Yesterday, no one could effectively target the identical set of consumers on and offline. Today, with AOS, you can. In the online arena, we know relying on pixels leads to inaccurate data. AOS allows the use of consumer data that has been anonymized for true synchronized online and offline targeting, optimization and distribution across channels and devices.
The Makegood: How does AOS integrate online & offline data—an aspiration that all marketers obsess over?
The initial release of AOS will enable marketers to leverage offline audiences (CRM data for example) for online deployment through various online channels. In addition to the data itself, users will have access to a transformational suite of preloaded Acxiom applications and an ever-growing array of third party tools. Preloaded applications include Acxiom Audience Architect, Acxiom Cross Channel Planner, Acxiom Campaign Optimizer and Acxiom AOS Analytics. Customer solution areas covered by AOS include Campaign Management, Audience Segmentation, Audience Targeting and Single View of Customer.
Following soon after the AOS launch, offline channel distribution will be added to the platform.
The Makegood: If a company uses an agency for all its online advertising, aren’t they all set? Why would they need AOS?
We are looking to partner with all agencies and media buyers. We feel that the platform’s features – modeling, analytics and segmentation – will be great enhancements to existing media planning tools that reside in agencies. Acxiom is known for being a front-runner in privacy and security, and through AOS we can make the offline /online seamless and compliant for both agencies and their clients.
The Makegood: How is AOS different than a DMP? How about a DSP? These entities or solutions are all familiar to us, already.
We manage at the individual level, not the cookie level, in a secure, privacy-compliant way. A lot of DMPs are saying that they can do what we can, but Acxiom has an expanded definition of what a DMP is and should be. In fact, Forrester just wrote about how Acxiom is already where the DMP must go but in many cases cannot, due to their digital-only focus.
Because of its integrated outlook, AOS can provide insight into targetable audiences across multiple channels. Acxiom focuses on partner networks where known audiences exist, not just cookie pulls. And we support analyzing all types of data (i.e. offline conversion data) in the platform, not just media-related data.
We are not media buyers. Acxiom is about enabling better decisions in the media-buying process through better audience development. That helps everyone. We partner with the leading DSPs and media players to extend the value of your DSP of choice. It’s a collaborative model by design.
The Makegood: What 3rd party data does your platform offer besides yours?
We can take in Doubleclick For Advertisers (DFA) and other types of specific client-driven data (Omniture, Coremetrics). Currently we don’t offer access to other online 3rd party data (BlueKai, Excelate, DataLogix, etc) on our platform, but it is on the product roadmap. If a customer has access to other 3rd party data via their marketing database, we can take advantage of that by onboarding it to the online space and making it available for segmenting.
The Makegood: Who do you see using AOS, and what skill sets are required to get the most out of its functionality?
AOS was designed to serve users with a range of skill sets, but we’ve identified four general categories of user and focused on developing tools specifically for their goals and needs. These categories are: marketers, agencies, publishers and development partners. Applications included in AOS will appeal to data scientists, media planners, campaign managers and CMOs. Every level will be able to get differentiated value from AOS.
The Makegood: How do you integrate with the Trading Desk? Obviously a key consideration for many in the agency set.
Again, Acxiom doesn’t want to be in the media buying business; we know that agencies own that. What Acxiom does want to do, however, is enable companies and their agencies to make better decisions around reaching their customers. We will develop accurate, rich audience sets that can then be distributed and integrated to a trading desk platform. We also know that companies have their own media capabilities; we want to enhance those and provide further insights through our ability to uniquely and anonymously tie data at the individual level and provide closed-loop predictive analytics and reporting.
The Makegood: How is AOS priced?
AOS applications are pre-bundled so there is no need to decide which applications you need to get started. There is a minimum usage monthly fee that can be applied to any application on the platform. Application usage fees are typically based on total records managed on the platform — audience records or transaction records, while some applications are priced based on data storage.
The Makegood: Anything else you’d like to add?
Really just that we are excited this day has come. We’ve got some great agency partners and brands in the mix and are looking forward to providing further updates over the coming quarters. We will have new features, as well as new developer partners and apps to announce. We believe that AOS truly changes marketing by creating a new and more open standard for what’s possible.
The Makegood: Thank you, Nada