Dentsu Aegis Network, one of the world's largest agency holding companies, acquired HelloWorld, a Detroit-based digital marketing, promotions and loyalty solutions firm, according to a news release made available to Marketing Dive.
- Dentsu is leveraging HelloWorld to support its Merkle arm and has rebranded the shop as HellowWorld, A Merkle Company. The acquisition intends to help Merkle continue to scale its people-based marketing capabilities, which include loyalty solutions, performance media, customer relationship marketing, customer experience and enterprise technology services.
Founded in 1999, HelloWorld creates promotional and gamified campaigns to help marketers generate buzz, along with providing loyalty programs, insights-driven communications and analytics to optimize campaigns. Some of the company's longtime clients include Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft, the release said.
With the acquisition, Merkle intends to expand and scale its toolbox for people-based marketing — a tactic that's being eyed more carefully by brands as consumers demand greater personalization, loyalty offerings and savvy use of their data. For HelloWorld, it has the opportunity to grow its global client roster, offer full-circle customer solutions and enable marketers to strategically engage customers and drive emotional responses, per the release.
People-based marketing has, in recent years, become an increasingly desirable target for marketers as better identity data makes a truer form of one-to-one personalization more feasible. Dentsu, which purchased Merkle in 2016, has been snapping up other marketing agencies and solutions firms worldwide to deepen its specialization and create a global footprint in the space. Last year, it began implementing Merkle's PII-based M1 platform for data planning and activation into its U.S. media agency brands.
Dentsu in November acquired Oxyma Group, a performance-marketing agency based in the Netherlands and Dubai, with a goal of growing its presence in those markets and complementing Merkle's EMEA business by delivering personalization via CRM, loyalty, digital and media. Unilever, Air France, KLM, Audi and Vodafone were key Oxyma clients. The agency holding group last April also bought Leapfrog Online and integrated the company's proprietary marketing technology into iProspect, its search and performance marketing agency.