Merkle hires EMEA creative director and expands its customer experience team

Guy Howland joins to lead creative department and Sarah Painter as SEO director

Performance marketing agency Merkle has boosted its customer experience (CX) team with two senior hires in EMEA, amid ambitious plans to expand the division in the region.

Guy Howland has been appointed to the newly created role of creative director, and will be responsible for leading a team that delivers data-driven creative solutions across online, mobile, email, social and display advertising. Howland, who will be based in Merkle’s UK offices in London, previously held the role of head of creative at automotive software and marketing solutions provider GForces. He will be responsible for growing the creative department, working across existing clients and new business and will report to Azlan Raj, Merkle’s vice-president of CX for EMEA.

At the same time, Sarah Painter has been appointed to the role of SEO director, with responsibility for leading and developing a best-in-class SEO offering, enabling clients to reach the right customer at the right time. Painter joins from Merkle’s SEO team in the US, where she has played a lead role in delivering award-winning campaigns and developing solutions that have significantly improved SEO performance. Painter will also be based in London.

“The appointments of Guy and Sarah will be crucial to us ramping up our CX offering across EMEA, where we are focusing on data-driven experiences for our clients,” says Raj.

"Sarah brings next-level SEO services to our EMEA clients, while Guy’s stunning, data-informed creative work ensures we will continue to offer high-performing solutions to clients through a powerful blend of art and science."

Michael Komasinski, president of Merkle EMEA, says: “Customer experience is a major battleground for our clients, and our growing CX capability, led by Azlan, is well placed to help them win. Guy and Sarah are fantastic additions to this team.”

Merkle launched its EMEA CX division in January last year, offering creative, digital and SEO solutions to its clients. It has been bolstered by recent acquisitions, including mobile and innovation agency aFrogleap, social and content agency YourSocial, and Oxyma, which takes Merkle to over 120 experience and creative experts in EMEA.

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