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Digital Impact Adopts Acxiom Name, Adds Services

The full integration of online marketing services provider Digital Impact into Acxiom Corp. has resulted in the renaming of the business unit as Acxiom Digital, the appointment of a new top executive and the expansion of its product offerings, Acxiom said yesterday.

The changes at Acxiom, Little Rock, AR, come nearly a year after the Digital Impact deal was completed in May 2005.

Kevin H. Johnson, former vice president of products and marketing for Digital Impact, becomes leader of Acxiom Digital while former Digital Impact CEO William Park has been tapped to oversee Acxiom Digital as well as Acxiom's InfoBase data business and Acxiom Direct as client services organization leader.

The first new service under the Acxiom Digital banner is customer acquisition lead generation on the Web, Mr. Johnson said in an interview with DM News.

“Acxiom Digital will create Web sites to appeal directly to consumers for lead generation purposes,” he said. “It makes sense in a couple of different ways. One is, clients were asking for it, and the other is that we have the capabilities and we believe in our ability to draw traffic cost effectively, and so now it's essentially putting our money where our mouth is.”

The first such Web site is www.healthcareers.net, designed for consumers to obtain more information about careers in healthcare.

“The site is built to let people know how they can pursue a career in the healthcare industry and captures people interested in an education or going to school in order to help further that career,” Mr. Johnson said.

Leads generated at the site are shared with appropriate clients.

The health careers offering is the first but Acxiom Digital is exploring other markets.

“As you can guess, we will be looking at verticals and topics that are most appealing to the Acxiom client base but we don't want to tip our hand on where we're going yet,” he said.

Mr. Johnson said that other companies do lead generation but that the services vary widely.

“Other companies do this in a variety of ways,” he said. “The term 'lead gen' is kind of a loaded term these days, and most people associate it with the not-too-spectacular sites that you click to and they just give you another list of links. I think it's a growing business, and we'll see a lot of others getting into it as well.”

Marketing continues to evolve, with more marketers moving toward real multichannel integration, he said.

“I think for years people have been talking about bringing together their databases and having a single data source from which to drive marketing, and it really feels to me like more companies are achieving that reality this year and are much more integrated in their marketing programs than they used to be,” he said.

Mr. Johnson said the former Digital Impact and Acxiom continue to add joint clients in industries such as transportation, technology, publishing, retail and financial services.

Access to Acxiom's data and products such as the Personicx database and customer recognition tool AbiliTec also has been a key factor in the integration.

“We are still finding new ways to use Acxiom's existing data that can help drive the coveted personalization and relevance of our marketing programs,” Mr. Johnson said.

Acxiom announced its intent to buy Digital Impact in March 2005 and made a $140 million tender offer of $3.50 per share of common stock. When the deal was first announced, Acxiom company leader Charles D. Morgan said a growing need for integrated online and offline marketing solutions sparked the acquisition.

Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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