Columbia, MD, January 5, 2016

500friends, a Merkle Company Named a Leader among Customer Loyalty Solution Providers for Midsize Organizations

500friends, a Merkle Company announced that Forrester Research, Inc., an independent research firm, ranked 500friends as a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Customer Loyalty Solutions for Midsize Organizations, Q1 2016. Forrester’s highest ranking for a Wave evaluation is a “Leader.”

The Forrester report assessed the state of the loyalty solutions market and how seven vendors stack up against each other across 40 criteria. The evaluation focused on current offering, strategy, and market presence.

500friends received the highest individual scores in the company performance criteria, and among the highest scores in the pricing structure criteria. It specifically received the highest score possible in pricing structure, which it believes is aligned with its cost-effective vision and platform design, aimed at low total cost of ownership as a highly scalable, secure, and IT-operations-free service. 500friends believes that the company performance score, highest among all evaluated vendors, shows continued growth with the highest possible scores in the account expansion and customer retention subcriteria. The company also received the highest possible scores in the profiles, tiering, and segmentation subcriteria of loyalty management as well as in the preference management, currency management, and rewards and redemption management subcriteria.

As part of the evaluation, Forrester surveyed clients of each firm and, according to the report, 500friends’s “clients praise both the platform and the people. Specifically, they like LoyaltyPlus’s flexibility and ease of use, and indicate that implementations are typically on-time and on-budget.” 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.

Forrester cited 500friends along with another vendor for having “traction among enterprise clients with [its] omni-channel and engagement-centric solutions.” 500friends was also cited for operating “the largest loyalty programs in this evaluation.” Furthermore, Emily Collins, Senior Analyst at Forrester, wrote in the report, “The vendor has its sights set on the enterprise market, and we believe it can get there.”

Additionally noted in the report is the combined 500friends and Merkle loyalty offering: “[500friends’s] acquisition by Merkle in 2014 brings deeper pockets, services resources, and the exposure it needs to succeed with larger, more complex organizations.”

Merkle Chairman and CEO, David Williams, said, “In a customer-centric world, a powerful loyalty program is an essential tool for brands in building long, profitable relationships with their customers. The acquisition of a first-rate loyalty solution was a natural part of Merkle’s progression as a full-service performance marketing agency. Merkle has always focused on offering best-in-class technology solutions to empower marketers at top global brands, and 500friends perfectly dovetailed with that mission.”

“We are pleased to be recognized as a Leader in customer loyalty solutions for midsized organizations by Forrester,” said Matt Gilbert, COO of 500friends. “We believe this acknowledgement is a validation of all of the effort that the team has invested since our founding over 5 years ago. We are incredibly appreciative of the trust bestowed upon us by our clients and we will continue to aggressively pursue our commitment to disrupting the loyalty solutions category as we continue to scale into the enterprise market segment."

To read the full report, click here.

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