Merkle (www.merkle.com), a leading data-driven, technology-enabled performance marketing agency, today released its annual Year in Review for 2014. Merkle experienced 21.4 percent growth over 2013 and continues to be one of the fastest-growing digital agencies in the industry. In 2014, operating income grew more than 55 percent over 2013 levels. The significant year-over-year growth can be attributed to the strong performances of several industry verticals, including Insurance and Wealth Management, Nonprofit, Travel/Media/Entertainment and Life Sciences. This continuing growth reinforces Merkle’s position as the nation’s largest privately-held agency.
In 2014, Merkle added many world-class brands to its customer portfolio including AXA, AIG, Pella, Decker Outdoor, Feed the Children, NBC Universal and Kaplan. In addition to these new clients, Merkle extended its relationship with several existing clients including Humana, MetLife, Morgan Stanley, Samsung, Bristol-Myers Squibb, DIRECTV, Dell, Schneider Electric, and American Cancer Society. These new and expanding client relationships will further establish Merkle as a leader in the media space, managing budgets expected to top $1 billion in 2015, up from $600 million in 2014.
Further solidifying Merkle’s continued growth position were a number of 2014 developments, including an increase in the company’s credit facility, as well as several prominent industry partnerships, such as Twitter for its Tailored Audiences solution; Sitecore® for customer experience management; Revolution Analytics for open source ‘R’ software; and [x+1] Origin Data Management Platform (DMP) to manage and optimize campaigns that span site, email, display, apps, and mobile.
Existing partnerships that Merkle has built with Google, Facebook, and Twitter will continue to grow in scope and scale. During Facebook’s Q3 earnings call, Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, specifically highlighted the success MetLife experienced while working with Merkle on Facebook Ad campaigns. In addition, the agency introduced or released updates for many of its market-leading solutions, such as an enhanced analytics managed services offering, ResponsiveJS 1.0 and 2.0, and cloud-based Connected Recognition. As Merkle’s offerings continue to evolve, its position as a data-driven, tech-enabled performance marketing agency enables it to serve evolving customer needs.
Three strategic acquisitions amplified Merkle’s capabilities and scale in 2014: New Control, a full-service digital marketing and direct agency; RKG, a digital search and performance media agency; and most recently, 500friends, a software-as-a-service loyalty platform. Bolstered by these acquisitions as well as organic growth, Merkle now has more than 2,600 employees, operating in 18 locations worldwide. The company also recently added to its growing management team a number of senior executives from business transformation and consulting roles at prominent firms, such as Accenture, IBM, PwC Consulting, and Oracle and senior agency executives from Digitas, Razorfish, i-Crossing, i-Prospect, and Havas.
In support of Merkle’s strong year-over-year growth, the company continued to launch industry-leading thought leadership and received multiple accolades. In 2014, Merkle published Connected CRM: Building a Data-Driven, Customer-Centric Business Strategy; and won a Stevie Award for its 2014 Marketing Imperatives, the third in its annual series, which focused on the rise of the platform marketer and the new competencies required to be competitive in the age of addressability at scale. The 2015 installment, focused on Mastering the Addressable Customer Experience, is now available, and Merkle will release another book in May 2015 titled “The Rise of the Platform Marketer.”
In 2014 Advertising Age named Merkle among the leading CRM/Direct Marketing agencies in its Agency Report, both at the global (10th largest) and U.S. (7th largest) levels. Merkle also ranked as the 10th largest and fastest growing search marketing agency, the 17th largest digital agency network, the 19th largest mobile agency, and number 22 on the 50 top agencies in the world of any discipline.
“The rise of addressable marketing platforms and the ever-increasing focus on the digital consumer have helped put Merkle in a position to guide businesses of all industries through their digital transformation journeys. With the additions of New Control, RKG and 500friends and the investments made across our core capabilities, Merkle is well on the way to becoming the unequivocal leader in the performance marketing space,” said David Williams, chairman and CEO at Merkle. “We are committed to helping our clients grow, to tell a clear story, frame solutions, and provide flawless execution – because as our clients grow, we ultimately grow and are better equipped to help future clients reach their evolving business objectives.”