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Five-minute interview: Jason Skelton, Acxiom

Through a series of questions we find out a little bit more about another channel executive, this time Jason Skelton, Acxiom’s platform alliances head

Tell us what you do for a living

I’m currently working at Acxiom, a global marketing services company sitting within the IPG network. After spending the past six years supporting key clients in driving their data-driven marketing ambitions, I’m now tasked with expanding out Acxiom’s new Platform Alliances network. This involves leading Acxiom in a review of the market, assessing the platforms for complementary fit with Acxiom’s proposition, which ultimately helps Acxiom achieve its ambition of leading and inspiring brands to truly know their customer.

Why are you the right person for this job?

I’ve been working with clients for years now, helping them to solve business problems and get better business outcomes using their data assets and the technology they have invested in. This gives me a great steer on assessing the different technologies available in the industry and puts me in a prime position to be able to judge whether they fit with our clients’ needs. 

What gets you up in the morning? 

I suppose I should say, friends, family, loved ones – which of course they do. But I really enjoy my job, which is a good thing considering the amount of time we all spend at work. There’s nothing more interesting for me than having a series of business problems and desired outcomes and whiteboarding them with clients and Acxiom partners to try to map out a solution. And of course, nothing beats my home full of friends and family just hanging out – something that the current isolation requirements show we shouldn’t take for granted.

“I really enjoy my job, which is a good thing considering the amount of time we all spend at work”

Jason Skelton, Acxiom

Who helped you get to where you are today?

I’ve worked with some very clever people through the years, and everyone has contributed to my career path. I don’t know if I should call people out individually – I’ll do that when I win an award. Of course, I’d like to thank my mum and dad for all their support and guidance – without them I wouldn’t be here. Ha ha, is that too much? I’ll stop there!

Is it possible to get through an industry conversation without mentioning digital transformation?

Absolutely not – it’s front of mind for everyone’s business right now, though at the heart of any transformation needs to be the customer. Here at Acxiom, we help companies use their data as the cornerstone of any digital transformation journey. For any transformation to become truly impactful it needs to move beyond just a project-based solution into a “digital-first culture” at the firm. Customers which embrace this culture can turn their data into a revenue-driving asset, make better business decisions, launch more innovative products based on consumer trends, and relate to a broader scope of consumers using data analytics. Acxiom helps customers do this by working with our extensive platform partner network, and of course our sister agencies across the IPG network.

What does the next five years hold for the channel?

I think my role will change. As an example, at the moment we’re tracking around 100 customer data platform (CDP) partners in the market. I think it’s inevitable that we’ll see a lot of acquisition and consolidation in the coming years, so we’ll see some of that fall away. We only need to look at the martech [marketing technology] landscape over the years to know that this part of marketing is constantly changing. Remember when data management platforms (DMPs) were the thing to have in your ecosystem? Now it’s all about CDPs – what’s next?

What would be your Desert Island MP3s?

I’d need my Spotify account and my Google home hub – “hey Google play something happy” – that’s just how I operate. I need a playlist for every mood and environment.

What temptation can you not resist?

Cheese will always be my nemesis.

What was your first car and how does it compare with what you drive now?

My first car was a red Vauxhall Nova. I drove it for years – it never let me down. After a few years of owning an Audi S3, I’m now a car-free household. Living in London, it’s a luxury I can live without and owning a car is more hassle than it’s worth.

If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be and why?

A dog. If I could, I’d be surrounded by them. Everyone loves dogs, don’t they? They have the best life, chilling on the sofa and being taken out to cool places. Everything to them is an exciting adventure. 

If you were facing awesome peril and impossible odds, which real or fictional person would you most want on your side and why?

Bear Grylls – I mean, he’s got a solution for every situation, hasn’t he?

And finally, a grizzly bear and a silverback gorilla are getting ready for a no-holds-barred rumble. Who is your money on and why?

Silverback gorilla. They just look more brutal – silent assassins.

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