Merkle Delivers Connected Consumer Recognition with Its Enterprise Data Hub


Maryland-based Merkle is one of the largest and fastest-growing customer relationship marketing (CRM) agencies in the US. Merkle employs an analytically led, data-driven methodology and an enterprise data hub (EDH) from Cloudera to help large consumer brand clients build and sustain profitable customer relationships through smarter marketing.

"Performance-wise, as we’ve moved off of some of the MPP-style platforms and moved them into Cloudera, our processing speeds have improved seven to ten times."
- Matthew Mobley, Chief Marketing Technology Officer, Merkle

Use Case

The value of big data for Merkle is to help its clients become better marketers. The Cloudera-powered EDH that Merkle deployed at the center of its big data infrastructure in about six months, Mobley explained, "is a foundational component for our entire business because data is at the core of our marketing."

Today’s customer has numerous options for how they want to be reached, including both offline and online channels. Effective real-time and on-demand interaction with these customers relies on gaining a deeper understanding of "the customer" as a unique individual by tracking that individual’s related experiences and behaviors across different media (TV, direct mail, email, display) and channels (mobile, online, call center, support).

With the petabyte-scale Hadoop cluster sitting behind its large-scale services for data analytics, Merkle is able to make that crucial connection between the customer identity and experience. Merkle finds patterns in data from clients’ and third party sources to generate analytical, quantitative, and predictive models that anticipate what is going to happen next – and serves up appropriate responses to certain consumer behaviors. Clients use the information provided by Merkle to

  1. Segment prospects

  2. Build longer-term relationships with existing customers

  3. Optimize the media mix

  4. Determine who to target, when, and with which media type

"The amount of data we can bring into the organization and consume, and the speed at which we consume these data points, are important factors," Mobley noted. "Our Cloudera environment is the heart that’s pumping data out to the rest of the organization."

Impact: 10X the Performance at 40% of the Cost

Cost was one of the factors that Merkle considered during its evaluation, and Mobley estimated that Merkle’s Cloudera infrastructure has delivered 60% savings over alternative platforms in the market, such as massively parallel processing (MPP) data warehouse systems.

"Performance-wise, as we’ve moved off of some of the MPP-style platforms and moved them into Cloudera, our processing speeds have improved seven to ten times," stated Mobley. "We’ve seen massive improvement across the board."

As Merkle’s clients continue to scale their businesses, their digital data generation continues to grow as well. But Mobley isn’t worried. "We will double the size of the cluster rather than create any limits on the amount of data that we can get in there."