IBM & Acxiom Help Data Scientists Use Analytics on IBM Cloud to Target Customers and Prospects with Greater Accuracy

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ibm-logoIBM (NYSE:IBM) and Acxiom (NASDAQ:ACXM) announced a new partnership designed to empower data scientists to make faster and more accurate predictions by providing powerful analytics tools and curated data on IBM Cloud. Together, IBM and Acxiom will help enterprises utilize advanced predictive customer analytics combined with extensive consumer data to reduce time spent wrangling data and focus on delivering key insights and driving growth.

Data scientists typically spend up to 80% of their time and effort on data preparation1, leaving little time for deriving insights. This alliance is expected to bring together capabilities such as curated data sets, a client’s customer data and IBM configurable predictive models, all of which help decrease the time to action for these data scientists as well as bringing highly predictive variables to inform decisions on key marketing objectives.

As clients look for speed and accuracy to improve outcomes, the journey is not just about rich, curated customer profile data but how you can predict customer behavior and engage them in interactions relevant to them.” said Alistair Rennie, GM Solutions, IBM Analytics. “In order to drive faster time to value, it is necessary to develop ecosystems that provide data and analytics solutions to deliver the best possible decision making in the face of a dynamic market place. Our customer analytics strategy is to help clients with their data, analytics, actions and outcomes.”

IBM is working with industry leaders like Axciom to make more curated data available, then applying powerful analytics capabilities to uncover actionable insights. Last week, IBM announced the first cloud-based development environment for near real-time, high performance analytics, giving data scientists the ability to access and ingest data and deliver insight-driven models to developers. Available on the IBM Cloud Bluemix platform, the Data Science Experience provides 250 curated data sets, open source tools and a collaborative work-space to help data scientists uncover and share meaningful insights with developers, making it easier to rapidly develop applications that are infused with intelligence.

Combining the benefits of IBM’s and Acxiom’s offerings may help marketing analysts and data scientists fine-tune their understanding of their customers and predict future behaviours with more accuracy and higher confidence. The insights they gain could be used to drive campaigns that are more precise, successful and profitable. Both companies are already helping enterprises apply data for business insights, and this joint solution can deliver even greater value. For example:

  • Insurance companies can use the joint solution to better predict life events for similar policy holders – an issue for agencies of all sizes. IBM has independently worked with an insurance company which worked with partial profiles and lacked predictive capabilities, leading to models that were incorrect 50% of the time. Using IBM’s predictive customer analytics solutions, they were able to quickly build a full, variable-rich customer profile set, using predictive analytics to build a production model with over 90% accuracy. This has helped them create more personalized and relevant interactions for each end customer.
  • Retailers can use the joint solution to drive promotions targeting competitor’s customers – a route to growth in a static market. Acxiom has independently worked with a retail client to quickly exploit a gap in the competitor’s marketing strategy. Identifying what customer profiles made the best prospects for the upcoming season and identifying look-alike customers from Acxiom’s database, the retailer achieved response rates five to eight times better than in previous campaigns and an incremental lift in the average sales ticket by almost 50%.

Acxiom has a long history of helping marketers generate better results from their own customer data, by applying the power of our consumer recognition technology, AbiliTec and our other proprietary technologies to customer databases,” said Rick Erwin, President and General Manager, Audience Solutions at Acxiom. “By collaborating with IBM, we’re excited to help bring those capabilities directly into the hands of the marketing analysts and data scientists that can best apply those insights to their companies’ unique needs.”

Organizations who rely solely on their own data to develop customer profiles may struggle to create successful marketing campaigns. This anticipated development of joint offerings could boost an organization’s current customer data set with a wider variety of predictive variables and advanced analytic techniques and accelerators. The combination of these may lead to a better understanding of key drivers; which could help improve key customer performance metrics such as retention rates, campaign effectiveness and lifetime value.

Additionally, the anticipated joint offerings may enable the creation of audiences with similar characteristics by tapping into Acxiom’s consumer information and activating its segmentation models, which can help achieve twice the prospect responses against using in-house data only.

In an era when consumers increasingly expect personalized engagements, organizations are typically hindered by an incomplete customer profile, which can lead to underperforming marketing engagements, said IBM’s Rennie. “Most companies only use a little over a quarter of their semi structured data and less than a third of unstructured data for business insights and decision-making1. With IBM’s predictive customer analytics solutions, marketers can harness disparate data sources to gain a deep understanding of the individual customer behavioural-based segments and develop ‘next best action’ recommendations for execution across any touchpoint.”


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