Zeta Interactive acquires Acxiom’s marketing division, Impact

Zeta Interactive

Zeta Interactive wants to be included in any grouping of major marketing clouds, like those from Adobe, Salesforce or Oracle.

Today, it took another step to bulk up for that role by announcing it is buying Acxiom’s enterprise marketing division, Impact. Deal terms were not made public.

While Acxiom is mostly known as a powerhouse data provider, its Impact division is focused on providing marketing tools for email, desktop and mobile web, social media and display ads. The deal also includes a long-term strategic relationship with Acxiom’s LiveRamp, which is designed to help brands utilize offline data like store visits with online data.

The deal, Zeta COO Steven Gerber told me, is “an acceleration of what we’ve been doing — a data-driven marketing platform to acquire and maintain customers.”

Co-founded in 2007 by former Apple CEO John Sculley, Zeta has been building its platform through acquisitions. Last November, it bought eBay Enterprise’s customer relationship marketing division, which included an enterprise-grade email service provide, a data management product and an automated attribution solution. In 2013, Zeta (then known as XL Marketing) acquired Adchemy’s customer acquisition division.

Gerber noted that his company’s “people-based marketing cloud” has two sides — a customer acquisition business that provides and manages data for clients and a CRM side. The Acxiom Impact acquisition, he added, is on the CRM side.

Although Impact offers many of the same functionalities Zeta already had, Gerber said, it gives his company “more scale,” adds some data analytics features and brings more than four dozen unspecified “marquee clients.” Overall, Zeta says it has more than 500 clients.

Impact will operate as a separate entity within Zeta for the first six months, he said, after which its platform will become fully integrated and its brand will cease. The new division will be headed by Acxiom Impact’s current general manager, David Bonalle. Both companies are based in New York City.

In Gartner’s 2016 Digital Marketing Hub report, Zeta was placed in the Niche quadrant. Salesforce, Oracle, Adobe and Marketo were characterized in the report as Leaders.

The report noted that Zeta’s “rapid inorganic growth” has been obtained “in part through acquisitions over a relatively short period of time, leading to concerns about seamlessness of integration and continuity of support.”

Gerber told me that Zeta’s core differentiator is that it can provide a fully managed service for clients, as well as the self-service model that is popular with large marketing clouds. Gartner noted that Zeta’s “managed services options will appeal to companies with a relatively low level of digital marketing expertise.”

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