Merkle (www.merkle.com), a leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer relationship marketing (CRM) firm and the nation’s largest privately-held agency, announced that it has acquired San Francisco-based 500friends (www.500friends.com/), a complete cloud-based omnichannel loyalty solution provider. The acquisition is a first for Merkle into the customer loyalty space and supports the company’s strategy for industry-leading customer insight and addressable marketing capabilities. In addition, the acquisition of 500friends reinforces Merkle’s focused approach to offering best in class technology solutions to empower marketers at top global brands.
Merkle chose 500friends due to its ability to provide personalized customer loyalty experiences seamlessly across multiple channels and devices that results in proven retention and maximized profitability of customer relationships. 500friends’s SaaS lifecycle marketing suite, LoyaltyPlus, is a dynamic solution that offers a single view of all customer interactions across in-store, online and mobile resulting in an effective loyalty platform attractive to major retailers. Since launching in 2010, 500friends now works with more than 50 of the top 1,000 retailers, such as 1-800 Flowers and Dermalogica. In coming together with Merkle, 500friends intends to increase its already-strong foothold within the retail and consumer goods industries, and expand into many of the other markets that Merkle currently serves, such as financial services and travel and hospitality.
“We see a tremendous opportunity in the customer loyalty segment of the market as more companies are investing in loyalty as a key customer growth strategy. Merkle is uniquely positioned to offer a complete customer loyalty program,” said David Williams, Merkle’s Chairman and CEO. “500friends’s interactive and analytics-based approach to the customer loyalty model allows companies the agility and insights needed to scale and optimize customer engagements over time, developing a program that is distinctive and best meets the needs of their target consumer.”
“Merkle and 500friends share a fundamental commitment to helping marketers maximize the value of their customer relationships,” said Justin Yoshimura, founder and CEO, 500friends. “Joining forces with the Merkle team is an ideal way for 500friends to broaden our own client relationships, by infusing broader, enterprise CRM solutions. Conversely, Merkle’s extensive network of Fortune 1000 clients will be able to realize the full potential of 500friends’ loyalty capabilities. We couldn’t be more excited about what this means for our customers and our team."