The Blue Book Top 20 rankings were launched almost eight years ago to promote profesessionalism in the performance marketing industry. mThink’s roots lie in enterprise-level marketing for companies in the Global 2000, and it seemed clear to us that the performance marketing industry was simply not thinking big enough.

We believed then, and still believe now, that affiliate marketing should be part of the core marketing solution set for every large enterprise and agency.

As a result, we stay connected to what is going on in that world, and today a new “Performance Marketing” company contacted us: Merkle. You may never have heard of them, but they are part of Dentsu Aegis Network, a billion dollar subsidiary of Dentsu, the Japan-based mega-agency.

The thing is, they call themselves a performance marketing company but they don’t do affiliate marketing. Instead, they take a larger view of what performance marketing means:

Merkle helps brands transform their marketing organization using data, analytics, and technology to create meaningful, personalized customer experiences that deliver competitive advantage.

For Merkle performance marketing means collecting data and using it to make meaningful changes in the business performance of their advertiser clients. They take a holistic view of the business, the competition and how to win. Take a look at the attached graphic to get a feel for just how deep they go.

Why should this be of interest to an affiliate marketer? Because too often we only look to the next sale, the next campaign, the next product. Real performance marketers lift their heads to the horizon and see the bigger picture. That’s what the best CPA and CPS networks do, and the best merchant and the best publishers. But what Merkle’s example shows us is that our industry practices and processes can be made deeper and wider. They should be integrated into the mass of marketing technology solutions that large companies now use, and be able to leverage the huge amounts of data that such companies now possess about their key audiences.

Here’s a quick self-test: do you know what a DMP is? Do you know what programmatic is? Do you know the difference between first-party and third-party data?

If any of your answers were “no”, take it as a sign that you may not be keeping up with how this industry is going to be affected by big data.

You can take a look at Merkle’s website here.