IPG tries to get it money’s worth from Acxiom with shiny new data op Kinesso

There’s a new kid on the data-driven block, Interpublic’s Kinesso, a “precision targeting and optimisation” outfit driven by IPG’s Acxion, the data business it bought last year for $2.2bn. This will include Cadreon IPG’s addressable media business.

Kinesso’s CEO is Arun Kumar who’s also IPG’s chief data and technology officer. Eventually Kinesso will have 1400 employees worldwide.

IPG chairman and CEO Michael Roth says: “With the acquisition of Acxiom, we signalled our intent to lean into data-driven marketing, as well as position ourselves as brands’ trusted partner in their first party data management. Kinesso furthers this vision by bringing together top data and technology talent with addressable media experts, and leveraging Acxiom’s assets and capabilities.”

IPG COO and Mediabrands chairman Philippe Krakowsky (left), the driving force behind this presumably, says: “Clients recognise that the future of marketing – along with pretty much everything else – is dependent on data. That means marketers are looking to leverage their own first party data, coupled with other strategic data sets, to create a more seamless and connected consumer experience, at scale.”

No doubt they are – but are they right to do so. More data is being created by the second but how much of it is of value? How can anyone say they’ve got all of it or their data is better than anyone else’s?

For clients it’s the fear of being left out, not getting a present at the toddler’s Christmas party. So they’re willing to pay big bucks in this new world of direct marketing – because that’s what it is – to have some shiny new outfit interpret it for them. If this SNO has some stuff of its own it probably makes it more convincing.

WPP, interestingly, has backtracked on this to a degree by agreeing to sell 60 per cent of its research operation Kantar to Bain. It’ll still have the data (presumably) but it’s realised the huge costs of sourcing it are better left to someone else. Can IPG, and Publicis, which has spent an eye-watering $4.4bn on another data firm Epsilon, actually afford to stay in the game?

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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