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Global e-marketing services firm Merkle steps up its focus on the B2B market

July 6, 2015 02:58 PM
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Merkle Inc., a global marketing services firm, is operating under a newly revised structure enabling it to better manage the growing demand it’s seeing for business-to-business marketing campaigns, the company says.

“From a client standpoint, B2B is far and away the largest opportunity we have before us,” says David Paulus, executive vice president, who heads up Merkle’s practice for B2B and high-tech clients. The past year in particular has brought a spike in opportunities to offer services to companies that market and sell to other businesses, he adds. “The sheer number of opportunities from the B2B world are at levels we’ve not seen before.”

Merkle has stepped up its focus on B2B marketing over the past two years as computer manufacturer Dell Inc. refocused its own strategy on corporate customers rather than consumer, Paulus says. “As Dell made its strategic shift, we needed to build out our capabilities and teams to help them do that. That drove the new focus on the B2B part of Merkle’s business.”

Among other tasks, that has meant helping Dell to build out its B2B customer database, Paulus says. “Our role is to help them extract value of that data.” Merkle’s strategy in B2B marketing, he adds, is to help clients identify and market to the many individuals within a targeted company that are involved in the purchasing process. “With an organization, you may have hundreds or thousands of individuals trying to move through the B2B purchasing funnel, from senior management to directors to procurement personnel,” he says. “Each of those individuals needs to be in your infrastructure of customer data.”

At a recent Merkle Summit conference in Chicago last month, Dell executives Monique Bonner, global marketing vice president of digital, technology and innovation, spoke about how Dell works with Merkle to engage segments of customers based on their known interests and needs. 

Dell’s “modern marketing strategic framework,” Bonner said, includes:

● Content strategy that executes an “always-on” personalized content creation approach that “meets customers needs in real time where they are”;

● Technology that automates marketing processes to automate and facilitate faster, targeted and personalized communications with customers; and

● Using data and analytics on customer buying efforts that help to help make real-time adjustments in personalized content marketing efforts to present customers with the right information at the right time and place to help them make a purchasing decision.

Paulus says Merkle is also working other large companies, including Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., T-Mobile U.S.A. Inc. and Microsoft Corp., that are also stepping up their B2B marketing. In many cases, he adds, they’re using what they’ve learned in personalized marketing to consumers to better target business customers.

In recent months, Merkle has acquired two firms to expand its capabilities in marketing services and web analytics. Last year, it acquired search and digital marketing agency RKG, also known as Rimm-Kaufmann Group; in April of this year it acquired Pointmarc, a provider of web analytics software. Merkle didn’t say what it paid for the firms.

Merkle provides its marketing services across several industry verticals—high tech, retail/consumer goods, financial services, nonprofit organizations, health care, travel and media/entertainment. It had traditionally focused its B2B marketing within the high-tech vertical, but is now providing it across all of the industries it targets, Paulus says.

Sign up for a free subscription to B2BecNews, a weekly newsletter that covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry. B2BecNews is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes the monthly business magazine Internet Retailer. Follow B2BecNews editor Paul Demery on Twitter @pdemery.

 

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