Keynote Speaker

David WilliamsDavid Williams
President and CEO
Merkle Inc.

David Williams is president and chief executive officer of Merkle Inc., a performance marketing agency that uses data, analytics and technology to help brands such as Dell, GEICO and the American Heart Association sustain profitable customer relationships. As a young entrepreneur, Williams acquired Merkle in 1988, becoming the company’s 24th employee. Today, Merkle has more than 3,400 employees in locations in the United States, China, United Kingdom and Spain. With revenues of over 400 million, it is one of the leading agencies in the U.S. for digital, CRM/data and search.

Under Williams’ leadership, Merkle has sustained double-digit annual growth over the last 20 years and is the only agency that has been recognized by Forrester Research across every aspect of the customer journey: customer engagement strategy, marketing and database operations, search marketing, and loyalty solutions. In 2016, Advertising Age ranked Merkle as the ninth largest CRM/direct marketing agency globally, the second largest U.S. search agency and the thirteenth largest U.S. digital agency. In 2012, Merkle was named to the “Ten Agencies to Watch” list in Advertising Age’s A-List Issue. Williams was recognized by Winning Workplaces and Fortune Magazine as one of America’s Best Bosses of 2006, and was the 2007 Maryland Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Williams is the author of the book, "Connected CRM: Implementing a Data-Driven, Customer-Centric Business Strategy," which was published in 2014 by Wiley Publishing. In the book, he shares his knowledge and experience with the intent of helping world-class brands build stronger, more profitable relationships with their customers. He is a frequent speaker at industry events and has written numerous articles and white papers about topics such as customer relationship marketing, database marketing and analytics, digital media and marketing technology. Williams currently serves on the board of directors for the Ad Council. Previously, he served for six years (2006-11) on the board of directors of the Direct Marketing Association (where he also sat on its executive committee) and for three years (2010-13) as a member of the board of trustees at the Howard County General Hospital: A Member of John Hopkins Medicine.

Williams began his career at Butcher & Singer, a Philadelphia-based investment bank, and holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.

Robert H. Smith School of Business
Map of Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
Robert H. Smith School of Business
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College Park MD 20742