Ever since MeritDirect partnered with private equity firm Mountaingate Capital in 2019, it’s aggressively expanded its data and service offerings in the B2B space.
In November, the Rye Brooke, NY-based company purchased 180byTwo – terms were undisclosed – marking its second acquisition deal this year; it bought Compass Marketing Solutions in January.
“Putting these companies together in a smart way is going to help us jump ahead big time,” MeritDirect CEO Rob Sanchez told AdExchanger. “We have a lot of good things in position here and as far as the B2B market we’re going to be way out front.”
And on Wednesday, the company announced the hiring of Stephen Easter as director of analytics services and Mausami Patel as director of data integration, both veteran data and analytics leaders – to help integrate the company’s new analytics capabilities following the 180byTwo acquisition.
Expect more growth to follow. Sanchez told AdExchanger that MeritDirect is eyeing at least two to three more M&A deals in 2021.
For now, MeritDirect, which has been helping B2B and account-based marketers leverage data and analytics for more than 20 years, has its hands full integrating its two newest acquisitions. In snapping up 180byTwo, MeritDirect inherits an ABM-specific identity resolution and data activation platform called Unifi, designed to enable cross-channel marketing campaigns.
Meanwhile, 180byTwo gets access to more data it can use to inform its AI, thanks to its parent company.
“Merit helped us further power the solutions we’re already building, which is using campaign-based data to drive AI machine learning to predict online outcomes,” said 180byTwo CEO Eric Shaffer, a former LiveRamp and Infogroup executive.
He added: “With this partnership, we can do things that a traditional consumer, big marketing shop can do like Acxiom, which is really understand what a prospector lead might look like in B2B, what their online or offline activities might look like. What are they interested in? Are they a golfer, are they a cyclist? Those are the kind of things you would never really find in B2B.”
180byTwo can also take advantage of MeritDirect’s scale and client relationships, Schaffer said.
“We’ve already been building out a full suite of online solutions but we hadn’t quite scaled to the point where we had direct client interactions or doing things like data-based marketing, which is what Merit is great at,” he said.
Shaffer, along with CRO Ben Goldman and SVP of finance and digital operations Karl Hjartarson, founded Florida-based 180ByTwo in 2017 to help B2B marketers simplify data workflows and centralize their technology stacks.
The deal will bring in 180byTwo’s top talent, and the founders will now serve on MeritDirect’s leadership team, reporting to Sanchez. Shaffer will serve as chief product officer, Goldman as SVP, digital, and Hjartarson as SVP, programmatic and digital data operations.
And MeritDirect has no plans to slow down in 2021, Sanchez said, and continues to beef up its analytics teams. Although the COVID-19 pandemic dented MeritDirect’s live events, the company has adapted, he said: “Part of our direct market strategy was to beef up our positioning and our marketing department and our outreach – COVID had a little bit of a delay factor on that.”
The company launched a new website and virtual events such as MERITtalks, which highlights companies, business leaders and customers “in chilled-out chats that cover strategies, successes, trends and insights” to help marketers, including episodes featuring Red Hat and Lenovo.
“If we can get more content and outreach we can do even better and part of what we want to do is collateral, some thought leadership, webinars, just a bunch of things where we can get out in front of people,” Sanchez said. “At some point in the future, we’ll be able to get back to what our events were, so we’re excited about that. We’re going to do a lot of marketing around the 180 products which we think are really superb and ready to take flight.”