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Craig Dempster

President, Merkle Americas
Craig Dempster

Craig has been a member of the Merkle executive team for more than a decade. In his role as President, Merkle Americas, he oversees all aspects of Merkle’s North American operation, including sales, account management, solutions, services, and marketing. He is responsible for driving the P&L for Merkle Americas, representing more than 80% of the agency’s revenue and employee base. His team of more than 4,000 is charged with the core goal of delivering exceptional value for clients across the full spectrum of people-based marketing competencies, including performance media, customer experience, CRM, loyalty, and enterprise technology services. In addition, Craig is responsible for the discovery, vetting, and management of acquisitions that support the strategic direction of Merkle’s Americas plan. Recent examples include the acquisitions of DWA, a global B-to-B digital media and marketing agency; HelloWorld, a digital marketing solutions provider with dominant position in promotion and loyalty solutions; and Filter, a leading experience design and digital marketing company.

In 2016, Merkle joined the Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN). Today, Craig serves on the DAN Americas executive team and has leadership responsibilities for three additional DAN member brands: 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 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. Craig also steered several of Merkle’s corporate acquisitions, including IMPAQT, a market leading search agency; Social Amp, a Facebook preferred developer that enables the use of open graph data in customer communications; Fifth Finger, a mobile first experience shop; New Control, a digital and direct agency; RKG, a performance digital media agency; and Periscopix, Europe’s leading independent digital media agency.

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.

Craig's Articles, Blog Posts, Webinars and More

DAN’s Merkle Partners with Ugam: Craig Dempster & Sunil Mirani on What’s Next

Continuing its acquisition legacy, on July 15, 2019, Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) announced that it had acquired Mumbai-based data analytics firm Ugam to scale up their expertise in data, analytics, and technology. The merger of Ugam, which has more than 1,800 employees in India, the US, and Australia with the global conglomerate’s US-based performance marketing agency, Merkle, is a remarkable vote of recognition for Ugam CEO Sunil Mirani and his team.

‘Where the money is’: There’s a rush to acquire companies offering in-housing capabilities