Acxiom

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Acxiom Corporation
Type Public
Traded as NASDAQACXM
Founded Conway, Arkansas (1969)
Headquarters Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
Key people Scott Howe, CEO
Products PersonicX
AbiliTec
InfoBase
Customer Information Infrastructure (CII)
Audience Operating System (AOS)
Revenue Increase$1.15 billion USD (2012)
Employees 6,200 (2012)
Website www.acxiom.com

Acxiom Corporation is a marketing technology and services company with offices in the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America. Acxiom offers marketing and information management services, including multichannel marketing, addressable advertising, and database management. Acxiom collects, analyzes, and parses customer and business information for clients, helping them to target advertising campaigns, score leads, and more.[1]

Its client base in the United States consists primarily of companies in the financial services, insurance, information services, direct marketing, media, retail, consumer packaged goods, technology, automotive, healthcare, travel, and telecommunications industries, and the government sector.[2]

It has been described as "one of the biggest companies you've never heard of."[3] In addition to collecting information about people, the company helps marketers anticipate the needs of consumers, according to the documentary "The Persuaders." As the world's largest processor of consumer data,[4] Acxiom has identified 70 types of consumers with its segmentation product PersonicX.

Forrester Research named Acxiom one of the largest database marketing services and technology providers in the world and stated that the company “demonstrated surprising nimbleness in modernizing its offering and arguably leads the industry with its digital solutions” in their January 2011 report “The Forrester Wave™: US Database Marketing Service Providers, Q1 2011." [5]

Acxiom is a $1.15 billion-a-year company, representing more than 12 percent of the direct-marketing-services sector’s $11 billion in estimated annual sales.

The company is the subject of the Vienna Teng song "The Hymn of Acxiom" from her 2013 album Aims.

Acxiom Building in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, 2007

History[edit]

Founded as Demographics in 1969 by Charles D. Ward in Conway, Arkansas, Acxiom is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.[6]

The company has additional U.S. offices in Chicago, Illinois; New York, New York; Foster City, California; and Nashville, Tennessee. International offices are located in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Australia, China, and Brazil. Services are available to companies in other countries.

In November 1997, Acxiom completed the acquisition of Buckley Dement, L.P.. [7]

In May 1998, Acxiom made the announcement that it would acquire one of its competitors, May & Speh. [8]

In early 2004, Acxiom acquired part of Claritas, a European data provider.[9]

In 2005, Acxiom acquired Digital Impact and integrated its digital and online services into its business.

In early 2006, EMC Corporation acquired Acxiom’s information grid software in a $30 million deal.[10]

On May 16, 2007, Acxiom agreed to be bought by leading investment firms Silver Lake Partners and ValueAct Capital in an all-cash deal valued at $3 billion, including the assumption of about $756 million of debt.[11] On October 1, 2007, however, a press release announced that the takeover agreement was to be terminated and Charles Morgan would retire as Acxiom’s company leader upon the selection of a successor.

On January 17, 2008, Acxiom named John Meyer (from Alcatel-Lucent) as new CEO and president, effective February 4, 2008.[12]

On July 11, 2008, Acxiom acquired ChoicePoint's database marketing solutions division, adding seven clients from industries including banking, insurance, and media.[13]

On October 9, 2008, Acxiom announced it had entered into a contract with XSellNet[1] to deliver and manage the distribution of real-time customer data and analytics to the retail auto dealer industry throughout the United States. The collaboration is co-branded as X12 powered by Acxiom.

In 2010, Acxiom acquired part of GoDigital, a Brazilian direct marketing and data quality company.

On March 30, 2011, Acxiom named Jerry Gramaglia as interim CEO.[14]

On July 27, 2011, Acxiom named marketing and advertising veteran, Scott E. Howe, as the company’s chief executive officer and president.[15]

On January 11, 2012, Acxiom named Warren C. Jenson as the company’s chief financial officer and executive vice president. [16]

In February 2012, Acxiom announced the closing of the sale of its background screening business, Acxiom Information Security Services (AISS).[2]

On April 19, 2012, Acxiom announced Dr. Phil Mui as the company's new chief product and engineering officer. Prior to joining Acxiom, Mui was the group product manager for Google Analytics. [17]

Controversy[edit]

In 2003, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint before the Federal Trade Commission against Acxiom and JetBlue Airways, alleging the companies provided consumer information to Torch Concepts, a company hired by the United States Army "to determine how information from public and private records might be analyzed to help defend military bases from attack by terrorists and other adversaries."[18]

According to the complaint, Acxiom's activities constituted unfair and deceptive trade practices, as "Acxiom has publicly represented its belief that individuals should have notice about how information about them is used and have choices about that dissemination, and has stated that it does not permit clients to make non-public information available to individuals," yet Acxiom proceeded to sell information to Torch Concepts without obtaining consent, an ability to opt-out, or furnishing notice to the affected consumers.

The FTC took no action against Acxiom, which had responded that it had followed its privacy principles and was not deceptive in its business practices. "Torch Concepts was acting under contract to the Department of Defense in their efforts to research ways to improve military base security," a company spokesman said. "Our policy clearly states that we 'provide information products which include financial information, Social Security number and other related information where permitted by law,' and that this information is 'provided to government agencies for the purposes of verifying information, employment screening and assisting law enforcement.'"[19]

Acxiom has a history of making it difficult for consumers to remove themselves from Acxiom's marketing lists.[20]

In 2005 Acxiom was a nominee for the Big Brother Awards for Worst Corporate Invader for a tradition of data brokering.[21]

In 2013 Acxiom was among nine companies that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating to see how they collect and use consumer data.[22]

Security[edit]

In 2003, more than 1.6 billion customer records were stolen during the transmission of information to and from Acxiom's clients; the information included names, addresses, and e-mail addresses. Acxiom's firewall was not breached, and no databases were accessed by the hackers.[23] Prosecutors described the 2006 case against the hacker accused of stealing the data as the "largest ever invasion and theft of personal data" ever tried.[24] The stolen data only came to light during an investigation of a separate data theft incident.[25]

Based on their investigation, prosecutors said there was no risk of identity theft or harm to individuals based on the breaches. They also praised Acxiom for being aggressive in pursuing the hackers and cooperating with authorities. "The positive outcome of this investigation is testament to the strong partnerships we have established with our counterparts at the headquarters and field offices of various organizations, from the FBI and Department of Justice to the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Attorneys' Office in Little Rock," said K. C. Crowley, Special Agent in Charge of Secret Service's Little Rock Field Office. "Furthermore, I commend Acxiom Corporation for their cooperation and responsible approach to the situation. Acxiom's quick response in contacting federal investigators after determining there had been a network intrusion should serve as a model for others in similar circumstances."[26] The two primary hackers were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.[citation needed]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ / Acxiom Names Scott Howe CEO
  2. ^ a b "Acxiom Corp." at NYTimes.com
  3. ^ "FRONTLINE's The Persuaders". Corporation for Public Broadcasting. November 9, 2004. Archived from the original on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-01. "But where did all this information come from? How did political parties and advocacy groups know whom to reach with what message? The answer to that question begins here. The Acxiom Corporation of Little Rock, Arkansas, is one of the biggest companies you've never heard of." 
  4. ^ Behar, Richard (February 23, 2004). "Never Heard Of Acxiom? Chances Are It's Heard Of You. How a little-known Little Rock company--the world's largest processor of consumer data--found itself at the center of a very big national security debate". CNN. 
  5. ^ "Acxiom’s Business Transformation Confirmed by Independent Research Firm’s Evaluation" (Press release). Acxiom Corporation. Jan 13, 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  6. ^ "Acxiom" at fundinguniverse.com
  7. ^ "Acxiom(R) Corporation Acquires Buckley Dement, L.P. Acquisition Expands Acxiom's Portfolio to Provide Data and Database Solutions to Health Care and Pharmaceutical Companies". November 3, 1997. Retrieved Jul 31, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Acxiom to Buy May & Speh for $600 Million". May 28, 1998. Retrieved Jul 25, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Acxiom Completes the Acquisition of Claritas Europe" (Press release). Acxiom Corporation. January 6, 2004. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  10. ^ "EMC and Acxiom Partner to Accelerate Development and Deployment of Grid-Based Information Infrastructure" (Press release). Acxiom Corporation. January 5, 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-07. "EMC Acquires Information Grid Software from Acxiom" 
  11. ^ "Acxiom Agrees to Be Acquired by Silver Lake and ValueAct Capital for $3.0 Billion" (Press release). Acxiom Corporation. May 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  12. ^ "Acxiom Names John Meyer as New CEO and President" (Press release). Acxiom Corporation. January 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  13. ^ Chantal Todé. "Acxiom acquires ChoicePoint's database marketing solutions division". Direct Marketing News. 
  14. ^ "Acxiom Names Jerry Gramaglia as interim CEO" (Press release). Acxiom Corporation. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  15. ^ Acxiom Names Former Microsoft Exec Scott Howe As CEO
  16. ^ Acxiom Names Former Amazon Exec Warren C. Jenson CFO
  17. ^ Googler Phil Mui Joins Acxiom As Chief Product And Engineering Officer
  18. ^ EPIC Complaint Against JetBlue Airways and Acxiom Corp. to the Federal Trade Commission
  19. ^ Associated Press, "Acxiom denies invading airline passengers' privacy"
  20. ^ "Acxiom Opts Out of Opt-Out". Wired. November 17, 2003. 
  21. ^ PI Announces U.S. Big Brother Awards winners for 2005
  22. ^ What You Didn’t Post, Facebook May Still Know 26-03-2013
  23. ^ Acxiom FY2004 10-K filing
  24. ^ Acxiom database hacker jailed for 8 years | The Register
  25. ^ Chats led to Acxiom hacker bust
  26. ^ U.S. Secret Service news release, July 21, 2004

References[edit]

External links[edit]