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Merkle expands its technology toolkit with Celebrus software partnership

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Dentsu’s Merkle subsidiary has partnered with a U.K. tech firm called Celebrus to launch CXM Signals, a software offering that brands can use to study online shoppers’ buying habits.

“Everyone in the industry is seeing the impacts of continued data gaps, as well as knock on effects from the depreciation of the third-party cookie,” commented Anne Stagg, the CEO of Merkle’s UK and Ireland business. “When we embarked on this journey with Celebrus over a year ago, it was because we recognised the challenges businesses were facing.”

Dentsu is the largest marketing agency in Japan and among the top ten worldwide by revenue. Merkle, with its 16,000-plus employees, is one of the firm’s flagship businesses. It helps companies optimize the technology infrastructure that underpins their sales and marketing efforts. Merkle’s consultants can work with a brand to design a new e-commerce site or app, as well as develop the complex backoffice applications needed to support that service.

One of the Dentsu unit’s focus areas is working with firms to set up data analytics software. It can help a company deploy a new CRM application, figure out the best way of analyzing the customer data stored in that application and set up the software tools necessary to do so. The partnership with Celebrus will boost this part of Merkle’s business.

Celebrus provides a cloud platform that makes it easier for brands to collect data about shoppers’ buying habits. CXM Signals, the joint tool it built with Merkle as part of their partnership, is designed for the same task. But it also has a second purpose: helping brands associate the data they collect about a customer action such as a purchase with the buyer who carried it out.

Data collected about customer buying behavior can be used to develop better marketing offers. But brands can only realize a return on investment if they know who those offers should be sent to, which is where CXM Signals comes into the picture. Knowing which customer made what action in a website or app enables brands to ensure their ad campaigns reach the intended audiences.

Merkle and Celebrus says that the information collected by the tool can be fed into AI models for marketing automation purposes. Brands can may the data to deliver personalized promotions, as well as identify customers who may be close to churning and try to bring them back into the fold. Merkle promises implementation times of as little as a few weeks, which is fairly fast for a complex piece enterprise software.

Notably, CXM Signals only uses first-party data to provide insights into customer preferences. That should make it easier for brands to comply with GDPR and the various other privacy regulations that apply to large-scale digital advertising campaigns.