Nielsen's Most eXelate Future: Says It's An 'Operating System' For Marketing And Sales

Nine months after its acquisition of digital data management platform eXelate, Nielsen this morning highlighted its push to build an “enterprise marketing platform.”

That highlight, and a second area of focus on “data science,” were emphasized during the opening set-up for Nielsen’s “Analyst Day” in New York City.

The focus on data and enterprise marketing to the investment community appears to be a nod that Nielsen is going after a much broader marketplace beyond conventional media and marketing measurement, to the so-called “marketing cloud” sector dominated by companies like Oracle, Salesforce.com, Adobe and IBM.

“It connects some of our analytics together to help our clients advertise,” explained Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns, during his opening remarks.

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Barns cited examples to show how the enterprise marketing platform, or “EMP,” was transforming core existing businesses, especially its “watch” and “buy” divisions.

In the “watch,” or media measurement business, Barns said Nielsen is shifting from measuring media “targets” to “addressing individual consumers -- very powerful!”

In the “buy,” or consumer marketing research business,” Barns said the shift has been even more profound: “Think of this as an operating system for marketing and sales, providing more power, precision and speed.”

He said the new “OS” was being developed in a way that would enable customers to “learn as they go so they can continuously improve.”

Invoking Nielsen’s acquisition a second time as a transformational shift, Barns implied it was more than just a diversification play, signifying a fundamental cultural shift for Nielsen.

He said it is already playing an “important role in so many different parts of our business” -- not just materially, but in terms of the “effect and talent” the eXelate team is “playing inside of Nielsen.”

Then he singled out the strategic importance of “data integration” in terms of Nielsen’s ability to move into new media-buying marketplaces. “eXelate also gets us much more plugged into the programmatic marketplace,” he said.

The comments were clearly tailored to the investment community, more than the marketing community, which likely is looking for Nielsen to expand its growth beyond its entrenched control as the media industry’s near-monopoly currency to broader enterprise opportunities.

Barns said Nielsen would continue to be the media industry’s “currency provider” -- a residuals business based on recurring data licensing contracts -- but said much more of its future revenue growth would come from “data as service” and “software as service” business models.
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