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Our History

A Foundation of Passion and Experience

While Merkle’s business model has evolved over the years, allowing us to become one of the nation's premier customer experience management companies, one thing has remained constant: our dedication to providing our clients with world-class solutions for maximizing the value of their customer portfolios. 

From the days when one-to-one marketing was limited to direct mail, telemarketing, and email, we have always understood the value of data, analytics, and technology in informing marketing engagement. As the market evolved, Merkle has invested globally in the technology and digital media capabilities that have kept us at the forefront of the performance marketing movement. In fact, we are the only agency that has been recognized by Forrester across every aspect of the customer lifecycle.

It all started when a small data processing company was purchased by a young visionary with big dreams of building a world-class service organization ...

In 1988, Merkle was acquired by a young entrepreneur named David Williams. At the age of 25, Williams already possessed a visionary leadership style; but even he never could have foreseen what technology had in store for the marketplace and for Merkle, which evolved into one of the leading performance marketing companies in the world.

Growth and expansion have always been watchwords — not only for Merkle’s own business ambitions, but even more importantly in terms of our clients. We have reached our market-leading status through years of tenacious focus on organic growth, revered talent acquisition, and smart corporate acquisitions.

Merkle has earned a reputation as a valued partner to our clients by assembling an elite team of experts who share a passion for achieving greatness. Merkle has convened the most experienced multidisciplinary marketing experts in the country, who strive to achieve their best work in areas of strategic consulting, database services, digital media, experience creation, analytical services, and technology.

In addition to our human assets, Merkle has made a series of strategic acquisitions over the last 34 years, from software and technology providers to data and analytic companies to creative agencies and mailing services. These assets have repeatedly built upon Merkle’s core strengths.

  • 2007: CognitiveDATA (customer data integration) 
  • 2007: CFM Direct (database marketing with financial services specialty)
  • 2009: Analytici (marketing technology)
  • 2011: IMPAQT (search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO))
  • 2011: Lenser (contact management solutions) 
  • 2012: Social Amp (Facebook Open Graph marketing) 
  • 2012: 5th Finger (technology-enabled mobile solutions, responsive web design) 
  • 2012: Brilig (digital data exchange for online advertising)
  • 2014: New Control (digital & direct agency)
  • 2014: RKG (digital & search agency)
  • 2014: 500Friends (loyalty solution provider)
  • 2015: Pointmarc (digital analytics consultancy)
  • 2015: Periscopix (London-based performance marketing agency)
  • 2016: DBG (London-based performance marketing agency that specializes in data)
  • 2016: Comet (London-based global provider of inbound and outbound CRM, marketing, and decision management solutions)
  • 2016: Joined Dentsu Aegis Network (best-in-class expertise and capabilities in media, digital and creative communications services) 
  • 2016: Axis41 (strategic digital agency focused on customer experience)
  • 2017: Divisadero (Spain-based digital intelligence and transformation agency)
  • 2017: Aquila Insight (UK-based data analytics consultancy)
  • 2017: Sokrati (India-based data-driven performance marketing agency)
  • 2017: DWA (global B-to-B digital media and marketing agency)
  • 2017: Oxyma Group (leading performance marketing agency in the Netherlands and Dubai)
  • 2018: HelloWorld (digital marketing solutions provider with dominant position in promotion and loyalty solutions)
  • 2018: Columbus (leading performance media agency in Australia)
  • 2018: Amicus Digital (Australia-based marketing technology consultancy)
  • 2018: Namics (leading full-service digital agency in Switzerland and Germany)
  • 2018: DEG (full-service digital agency, specializing in data-driven commerce solutions)
  • 2019: Filter (leading experience design and digital marketing company)
  • 2019: Happy Marketer (Southeast Asia’s leading data-driven digital marketing agency)
  • 2019: Ugam (next-generation data and analytics company based in Mumbai, India)
  • 2020: 4Cite (leading people-based identification and data services technology company)
  • 2020: Digital Pi (leading digital marketing / marketing automation agency in the B2B sector)
  • 2020: Media Storm (independent data-driven audience planning and targeting agency)
  • 2021: LiveArea (a global customer experience and commerce agency)
  • 2022: Extentia (global tech and services firm focused on enterprise mobility, cloud engineering, and user experiences)
  • 2022: Pexlify (a leading Salesforce consultancy based in the UK and Ireland)
  • 2022: Aware (an Australian Salesforce, MuleSoft, and Tableau partner with data and analytics capability)
  • 2023: Omega (CRM consulting business in Spain)

Merkle, which joined dentsu in 2016, has now grown to be one of the nation’s leading customer experience management companies. Brands that have come to rely on Merkle’s passion and expertise to drive results include many household names such as GEICO, Dell, Microsoft, Google, AARP, Kimberly-Clark, Under Armour, Nestle, and American Heart Association. We are proud of the industry position we have earned, with Advertising Age 2022 Agency Report rankings in the following categories:

Global rankings

  • World’s Largest CRM/Direct Marketing Networks – Merkle ranks 4.

  • World's Largest Ad Agencies – dentsu ranks 1.

  • World's Largest Agency Companies – dentsu ranks 6.

  • World’s Largest Digital Agency Networks – dentsu ranks 8.

US rankings

  • Largest US Agencies of All Disciplines – Merkle ranks 8.

  • Largest US CRM/Direct Marketing Networks – Merkle ranks 3.

  • Largest US Digital Networks – Merkle ranks 12.

  • Largest US Health Care Agency Networks – Merkle ranks 11.

  • Largest US Promotion Agencies – Merkle ranks 16.

We are constantly evolving Merkle's value proposition and expanding our core competencies in anticipation of marketplace changes. Our company has experienced double-digit annual growth over the past three decades, with 2022 revenue of $1.7 billion. With more than 16,000 employees worldwide, we opened our Columbia headquarters campus in 2008, now complemented by operations in more than countries in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC.

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