Acxiom Debuts Health Unit at Show

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Acxiom Corp. will bring its data management services to the healthcare and pharmaceutical markets with the introduction of Acxiom Health at the DMA fall show.

Acxiom Health is the first business unit named for its vertical focus, but Acxiom, Conway, AR, has no plans to brand other units by industry specialty.

The desire of pharmaceutical manufacturers to increase revenue by marketing smarter, and the need of managed care providers to quickly and efficiently integrate multiple data systems because of an ongoing flurry of mergers and acquisitions convinced Acxiom that these industries required a database partner.

"The pharmaceutical industry has a high value for getting to a true one-to-one relationship marketing strategy with their customers," said Elizabeth Ruske, product leader for Acxiom Health. "Whether their customers are the physician or the end consumer, they will need to have capabilities to do that."

Acxiom Health will be one of the first business units to take advantage of the database and analytical services of newly acquired May & Speh, Downers Grove, IL. It will avail itself of the Solvitur data management process used by financial services, retail and business-to-business marketers to help clients organize data from disparate sources into a single data warehouse. The unit already has contracted with pharmaceutical clients to build databases, such as prescribing physicians and consumers.

In four months of market research, Acxiom found that pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare organizations have mountains of data but no system of organization. Accessing the data and doing so in a timely fashion are the two biggest obstacles these companies face in implementing marketing programs.

"Inbound 800 calls, bounce-backs, survey forms, rebate checks - none of this information has been captured in a consistent way," Ruske said. "We're going to take the raw data and turn it into business intelligence."

The Solvitur process starts with the gathering of industry-specific data from a client's inhouse database and from a variety of other sources. Acxiom adds data from more than 50 lists of health practitioners and is a licensed franchisee of American Medical Association data. The InfoBase consumer and business databases also can be tapped for demographic and psychographic enhancements.

Solvitur then integrates various data sources using proprietary cleansing and hygiene processes. Next, data is processed and added to a data warehouse where it can be organized into data marts. At this point, the data can be accessed at a desktop PC to give sales and marketing teams actionable information when they need it. The data won't include personal medical information, Ruske said. All privacy guidelines will be strictly followed.

Acxiom also will use the fall show to introduce a shared suppression database and address verification service with credit bureau Trans Union, Dallas, called TransAcxion E.D.I.T. The database will let marketers mail only to those prospects with positive payment histories and verified addresses.

Prospect names will be screened at three levels: through the database's suppression prescreening utility, the Trans Union Verification Service for name and address, and the Acxiom InfoBase Verification Service for additional data checks. Several large continuity clubs, catalogers and publishers are testing the database.

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