Merkle (www.merkle.com), a leading technology enabled, data driven customer relationship marketing (CRM) firm and the nation’s largest privately held agency, today released its annual Year in Review for 2013. Once again, Merkle experienced a record-setting year with 18.3% growth and a 43% increase in operating profit over 2012. Merkle’s Connected CRM (cCRM)™ approach to building customer strategy as a business strategy has continued to prove an effective driver of client success. The agency’s alignment with the needs of individual industries has led to significant year-over-year growth performances in key sectors, such as Retail and Consumer Goods with 74% growth; Insurance and Wealth Management with 33%; High Tech/B-to-B with 33% and Financial Services with 31%.
Driving much of the company’s growth has been Merkle’s substantial investment in the advancement and scale of its digital capabilities over the past few years. These investments in the company’s search, social, display, email, mobile, and experience design solutions are paying dividends, with year-over-year net revenue growth of 74%. Merkle’s search business alone has exploded in recent years, as it has built an array of first-party data driven solutions, elevating the agency to the 6th largest customer of Google among performance agencies in North America.
Another key driver of Merkle’s success is the momentum of its quantitative marketing group, which today comprises more than 250 advanced-degreed statisticians and provides a wide range of customer, marketing and media analytic services. This group achieved more than 25% year-over-year growth. Further establishing its position as a leader in the space, Merkle published its first book in 2013. Written by analysts, for analysts, the book is titled, “It Only Looks Like Magic; The Power of Big Data and Customer-Centric Digital Analytics.”
As Merkle’s client base is becoming increasingly global, the company has continued its ongoing expansion into international markets. In 2013, Merkle opened a second global delivery center (GDC) in Nanjing, China, adding to its existing GDC facility in Shanghai. The Nanjing office opened with 100 new employees and expects to double that number in 2014. In addition to this new operation, Merkle established an office in London, England, and also expanded its office in New York City, home to 75 employees.
Client Activity: In 2013, Merkle added to its already diverse customer portfolio and renewed some of its long time engagements. Those clients include GEICO, MetLife, Lowe’s, Dell, Easter Seals, United States Navy Memorial, Habitat for Humanity, EmblemHealth and KeyBank to name a few.
Capabilities & Industry Expansion: As evidence of Merkle’s continued commitment to delivering comprehensive cCRM solutions to help clients maximize the value of their customer portfolios, several achievements stood out in 2013.
- Merkle has made a number of advancements in its digital services capabilities, including:
- The introduction of solutions that allow prospecting to customer lookalikes, using the Facebook Custom Audiences program, which employs an open graph platform. More recently, Merkle was selected as a partner provider for Twitter’s new Tailored Audience solution.
- The successful launch by Merkle | IMPAQT of a remarketing campaign solution through Google’s Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA).
- Merkle released Connected Recognition, its technology platform which leverages online and offline data integration engines to create a map of an individual customer across multiple channels and media.
- Merkle released a comprehensive report entitled “Customer-Centric Transformation,” written by Steve LaValle, Partner and EVP for Merkle’s Management Consulting Group , which was based on a recent research study on how large U.S. organizations drive value using CRM.
- Merkle received industry recognition which demonstrated strong client partnerships and delivery of significant financials results. The awards included the Internationalist Award for Innovative Digital Solutions, multiple Direct Marketing Association’s Innovation Awards, DMAW MAXI Award, Fundraising Success Gold Award, the Bronze Stevie Award for the B-to-B Marketing Campaign of the Year, as well as being named to the Denver Post Top Workplaces and the Post 200.
Talent: Merkle eclipsed 2,000 employees in 2013, operating in 14 locations worldwide and adding industry-leading talent across its capabilities and industry practices. Merkle added Jean Holder and Mike Mojica, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Retail and Consumer Goods Practice.
“Merkle’s record-setting growth in 2013 is a testament to our Connected CRM approach and its highly customizable solution offering, which helps our clients achieve competitive advantage by building customer strategy as a business strategy,” said David Williams, Merkle’s chairman and CEO. “The massive opportunity of addressability at scale, across an ever increasing number of digital audience platforms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, is accelerating a flight to digital. This has given rise to a new breed of marketer that we call the Platform Marketer. Through the continued expansion of our digital and consulting solutions in 2014, we will continue to partner with world-class brands to help them develop the Platform Marketer competencies required to successfully execute on their customer-centric business strategies.”