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Craig Dempster

Global CEO, Merkle
Craig Dempster

Craig has been a member of the Merkle executive leadership team for nearly 15 years. In his role as Global CEO, he is responsible for the company’s many service lines, including customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise technology, data, analytics, performance media, user experience, performance creative, promotion and loyalty solutions, and customer strategy consulting. He oversees a staff of more than 9,700 employees in over 50 locations throughout the Americas, EMEA, and APAC.

Craig has been a direct report of Merkle’s Chairman and previous long-time CEO David Williams for more than a decade, playing an integral part in driving the company’s growth and profitability as it climbed to $1 billion in annual revenue. In his previous role as President, Merkle Americas, he was responsible for all aspects of Merkle’s North American operation, including sales, account management, solutions, services, and marketing. He was responsible for driving the P&L for Merkle Americas, representing more than 80% of the agency’s revenue and employee base. He led a team of more than 4,000 employees charged with the core goal of delivering exceptional value for clients across the full spectrum of people-based marketing competencies.

In addition, Craig is responsible for the discovery, vetting, and management of corporate acquisitions that support Merkle’s strategic direction. He has spearheaded more than a dozen acquisitions over the past decade, most recently those of Media Storm, a data-driven audience planning and targeting agency, Digital Pi, a B-to-B digital marketing agency, and 4Cite, a people-based identification and data services technology company.

In 2016, Merkle joined Dentsu International. Today, Craig serves on the dentsu Americas executive team as head of the CRM Line of Business in the Americas, including leadership of the other CRM brands within dentsu: Cardinal Path, an award-winning analytics and marketing optimization consultancy; 360i, an integrated, analytically driven creative agency; and gyro, a full-service B-to-B creative powerhouse.

Before being elevated to the role of President, Americas in 2017, Craig served as Global Services Leader, charged with the development and delivery of all of Merkle services worldwide, blending Merkle’s unique integrated DNA of data, analytics, technology, creative, customer experience, media, and consulting to deliver world-class people-based marketing to Merkle clients.

In his previous role as Global Agency Services Lead, Craig’s team grew from 75 to more than 1,200 people delivering integrated performance media agency services across search, display, social, mobile, email, web development, user experience, and creative services.

From 2010-2014, Craig held Merkle’s Chief Marketing Officer position, driving corporate strategy for the business and spearheading the ground-up development of the agency’s marketing communication, PR, and events organizations. As CMO, he led the evolution and rebranding of Merkle from a database marketing company to a digitally enabled customer relationship marketing (CRM) agency, driven by data, analytics, and technology – a concept now known as Connected CRM®.

Craig first joined Merkle in 2006 as Corporate Vice President of Merkle’s Content Solutions Group, an organization that combined data and analytics to drive direct marketing acquisition services for Merkle’s clients across industries.

Prior to joining Merkle, Craig had a long career at Metromail, and then Experian (which acquired Metromail in the late 1990s). Among his positions there were Vice President of Data Licensing, Director of Market Development, Director of Interactive Marketing, and various sales management positions. Craig joined Merkle in 2006, after serving as Senior Vice President of Sales and Account Management for Experian Marketing Services.

In 2015, Craig and John Lee, Merkle’s Chief Strategy Officer, co-authored a book titled “The Rise of the Platform Marketer,” which explores the competencies that marketers need in order to win in a world of digital addressability at scale.

Craig is a frequent speaker and writer on the topic of CRM and digital media and has been published in numerous publications, including Advertising Age, AdExchanger, DM News, and Ad Week. He provides expert guest commentary on trends in the digital advertising space for various print, online, and television news outlets, most recently appearing on CNBC’s Squawk Box. Craig holds a political science degree from Hofstra University.