Merkle’s Evolution, From Direct To Digital


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 When Merkle launched as a direct and database marketing agency 30 years ago, it had no idea how relevant these skill sets would be to digital marketing in the future.

Fast-forward to today, and Merkle’s expertise handling first-party data, building CRM databases and resolving customer identity are at the heart of marketers’ transition to a post-cookie world.

“What’s old is new again,” said long-time Merkle exec and new global CEO Craig Dempster. “If you can get the DNA of a digital marketer and database marketer connected, that’s where some magic can happen.”

Since 2006, Merkle has grown from 350 employees and $60 million in revenue to almost 10,000 employees and more than $1 billion in revenue. That journey included a shift to programmatic and digital agency services in 2009, and an acquisition by Dentsu Aegis Network in 2016.

“Traditional agencies didn’t understand PII or database marketing skills, nor was a brand going to allow the agency access to their consumer data,” Dempster said. “But we had that trust.”

In this podcast, Dempster walks through Merkle’s journey and plans for the future, including continued international expansion, growth in the customer experience realm and potential acquisitions.

“We need to continue to scale consulting services on the front end, and expand our technology skill sets to support customer experience,” Dempster said. “I think we’ll look to be acquisitive there.”

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