ABR 2009: Merkle Inc.

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David Williams
David Williams

“We look at direct in terms of the outbound media a company uses to communicate with a consumer. The company made a direct choice to communicate at a point and time with a consumer. Then there is the direct response, which involves understanding who that consumer is and attributing a specific behavior from that outbound media to the inbound response.”
-- David Williams, president and CEO

Merkle puts itself at the intersection of qualitative and quantitative marketing approaches, with a strong heritage in marketing analytics complemented by numerous technology platforms intended to massage that data and inform the marketing process. All of this is supported by a strong agency services group that was recently centralized, bringing together the firm's creative and production management resources in one location. But with over 125 graduate degree statisticians on staff doing nothing but marketing analytics, it's no wonder that well-recognized clients from both the consumer and nonprofit arenas come to Merkle for help developing and executing integrated marketing campaigns that can influence behavior.

Year founded: 1971

Headquarters: Columbia, MD

Number of offices: Seven

Web site: www.merkleinc.com

Major disciplines/capabilities: Marketing technology; quantitative marketing, including data, business intelligence and research; media creation and execution

Key accounts: Nike, DirectTV, P&G, American Heart Association, Arthritis Foundation

Current agency challenges: Managing staff requirements with very little visibility into client spending; balancing the need for innovation with the constraints of tight budgets

Biggest 2009 industry trends: The agency anticipates more focus on managing how marketing investments influence customer behavior and attitudes throughout the entire lifecycle; an accelerated shift to online; and more C-suite interest in the direct and database marketing space to drive customer value and spend accountability

Top executives: David Williams, president and CEO; Tim Berry, EVP and group leader, client services; Patrick Hennessy, EVP and group leader, client services; Eric Kirby, EVP and group leader, interactive; Michael Mathias, EVP and group leader, agency services

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