Acxiom enters digital advertising with acquisition of EchoTarget

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Acxiom Corp. has expanded its interactive marketing offerings with the acquisition of New York-based EchoTarget, a company specializing in banner retargeting.

The company provides customized targeting solutions for online advertisers and publishers, extending Acxiom's personalization expertise across digital channels that already include e-mail, search and Web site. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"With EchoTarget, Acxiom is adding targeted display advertising capabilities to its suite of interactive marketing solutions that already include email and search," said Rich Howe, chief marketing and strategy officer for Acxiom. "Our differentiation is the unique ability to bring both traditional direct marketing and interactive marketing together for our customers."

EchoTarget works with marketers and publishers to identify and target high-value marketing segments based on users' online behaviors. Those users are then targeted through relevant banners on the company's network of Web sites.

EchoTarget employees, including Smith, immediately will become part of an Acxiom business unit responsible for helping media buyers across industries purchase online advertising targeted to their specific criteria.

"By joining Acxiom's team, we will be able to leverage comprehensive data assets and extensive direct marketing and data integration expertise to bridge the gap between consumer behavior and consumer understanding," said Gregory Smith, founder/CEO, EchoTarget. "I look forward to leading the Relevance-X team in developing cutting-edge targeting solutions that go far beyond the one-dimensional approaches common in the market today."

Within the last few months, billions of dollars have gone into digital advertising acquisitions including Google and DoubleClick, Yahoo and Right Media Exchange, Microsoft and aQuantive, and AOL and Tacoda. This news shows that they aren't the only players making moves in the interactive marketing space.

This follows Acxiom's recent acquisitions of Kefta (2007), Digital Impact (2005) and SmartDM (2005).

The online industry is developing sophisticated behavioral targeting functionalities that will drive greater results for advertisers and greater ad revenues for publishers.

While digital marketing options are becoming increasingly sophisticated, most lack customer context.

Targeting is based on what the consumer just typed or the site they just visited û there is little insight to explain why the consumer took those actions or how a marketer can more effectively speak to the consumer's unique needs and motivations.

"Acxiom's acquisition goes beyond the current behavioral targeting paradigm to give clicks context, leveraging the most comprehensive data assets in the industry by combining proven direct marketing techniquesûsegmenting individuals based on demographics, shopping patterns and lifestyle factorsûwith the behavioral-based approaches of online targeting," Howe said.

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