How Long Will Brands Subsidize the Failed Transformations of Legacy Data Businesses?

In 2019, brands are spending unprecedented amounts of money on data, and that’s because the promise of true people-based Marketing has never felt so near at hand as it does today. It is possible to envision a world in which data informs every Marketing decision, from creative on through to activation and measurement. Unfortunately, there are still a number of areas where the promise of people-based Marketing outstrips reality, and this is due to the fact that brands and their partners in large part must continue to rely on legacy data businesses. These firms are quickly becoming obsolete as they have failed to transform their technology, core business models and fee structures for the digital and mobile media age.

Over the past decade, as data sources have proliferated and as marketing has moved into the real-time realm, the staid data Goliaths of the industry such as Acxiom, Experian, and Epsilon have been challenged with some tough pivots. I experienced those challenges firsthand at Acxiom and Experian at a time when shifting marketplace realities pointed to a need to tear the business down to the studs and rebuild it to address the need for real-time decisioning. The quarter-to-quarter mentality of public companies makes that nearly impossible.

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