As it turns out, Acxiom’s LiveRamp and Datalogix were friends all along.
The duo – sometimes portrayed as rivals in the data onboarding space – on Monday revealed they’ve expanded their existing partnership through 2017.
At the time of Acxiom’s $310 million acquisition of LiveRamp last spring, CEO Scott Howe compared Acxiom to Switzerland. That is, a “neutral, agnostic power grid everybody can plug into.”
There were some immediate questions, however, that followed the transaction.
Namely, was the only independent, third-party offline-to-online onboarder now off the market?
According to Monday’s announcement, Datalogix has for “several years” used LiveRamp to power its data matches. A common use case might be matching marketers’ first-party CRM and transactional data to site visits to fine-tune ad targets.
Enabling these offline-to-online matches “was one of the key reasons why we acquired LiveRamp last year,” Howe said. “[It’s] essential for vital tasks like next-generation measurement, targeting and personalization.”
Acxiom has shied away from being thought of as just a pure data play, and, instead, has sought to reposition as a cross-channel tech platform with the Audience Operating System (AOS) at its core.
Acxiom, too, sees itself “as a strategic supplier of data onboarding services to Datalogix and others – offering open and neutral connectivity services that unite disparate data sources and marketing platforms,” according to Howe.
One such marketing platform is Oracle, which just agreed to acquire Datalogix. Oracle’s string of acquisitions to bolster its Marketing Cloud – Eloqua for B2B marketing automation, Responsys for B2C campaign management, BlueKai for data management and, now, Datalogix for offline-to-online linkages – further solidifies its role as a centralized marketing “hub,” as Martin Kihn, research director at Gartner, described it. Acxiom, however, seems to be moving more into “neutral middleware” territory.
As a neutral data infrastructure provider, Acxiom can make clients out of competitors, and is foreseeably why Acxiom has thus far retained LiveRamp’s independent status. Rather than relegating LiveRamp's capabilities to AOS alone, it appears it will for now power matches for such data services competitors as Oracle’s BlueKai/Datalogix for the next several years.