CognitiveData acquires CMS Direct

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Seeing an opportunity to bring innovation to the areas of data accuracy, analytics and marketing databases for the catalog industry, CognitiveData is acquiring catalog marketing services firm CMS Direct.

CognitiveData, which was acquired by Merkle in May and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the database marketing agency, and CMS have been working together since 2006, when they formed a strategic partnership. At the time, CMS began incorporating CognitiveData's data accuracy technology into its list processing and data processing environment.

In October, the two began investing in a new processing platform for catalogers with the goal of provider catalogers with more accurate data, faster turnaround times and at a lower price than what is currently available. The platform went live with its first clients in February and a full rollout will take place once the acquisition is completed — which is slated to occur later this month.

“There has been very little innovation and investment by the classic marketing services providers that serve the catalog space” for the last decade, said Rod Ford, president and CEO at CognitiveData. His firm believes there is a real opportunity to become a market leader by bringing new technology and innovation to catalogers around data accuracy, analytics, and affordable marketing database, he continued.

The catalog industry “it's too big of a sector, whether it's in trouble or not, to ignore,” Ford said. Approximately 18 billion catalogs will go in the mail this year, compared with 19.6 billion in 2007, according to Ford. However, those 18 billion account for approximately 15% of the 110 billion pieces of personalized standard class mail that goes into the mailstream each year.

The deal will also enable CognitiveData to build out the overall range of services it offers.

Once the deal is completed, the CMS office in Minneapolis will be maintained as the combined company's “epicenter of our catalog, boutique retail knowledge,” said Ford.

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